You are losing a lot of money in the form of poor heating efficiency if your house has air leaks. Therefore, you need to know if your house is leaking air. Here are a few ways to test for air leaks in your home:
Any gap that is big enough for you to notice is leaking serious air. Therefore, walk around your house and look for gaps or holes that air may escape through. Focus on joints and projections, since they are more likely to experience damage than solid parts of the house. For example, you can check areas where outside faucets or pipes project from the wall, around windows, the siding corners, or where the chimney projects from the roof. Do the same thing for the interior, since some gaps may be too small to be noticed from the outside but wide enough to be noticed from the inside.
Give Each Window a Little Shake
If your windows rattle when you give them a shake, it means they are loose and there are gaps between the windows and the wall. A firm window shouldn't rattle, since there is no space between it and the house. The same space that allows rattling is the same space through which air passes.
Examine the Skylight
The joint between the skylight and the rest of the roof is a common problematic area. If the joint is damaged, it can allow water to leak into the house and air to escape. You may not be able to see air escaping, but leaking water will definitely leave some telltale signs. For example, you should suspect a leak if there are brown or dark stains on the skylight or the walls next to it.
Perform a Pressurization Test
The purpose of the test is to determine is to increase air filtration so that you can identify any cracks better. First, turn off all combustion (burning) appliances in your house (such as candles and furnaces); this will reduce air circulation due to heated air and exhaust gases. Next, close all the doors, windows, skylights and other common openings to block the obvious openings through which air can pass. The third step is to suck the air out of the house, for example, by using exhaust fans that drive air outside. Lastly, light up a candle and walk with it through all the rooms in the house; you know there is a leak if the candle doesn't burn upwards but flickers or gets blown out.
If you don't succeed and you still suspect outside air is blowing into your house, then it's time to call for a professional technician. It might also be that something else is causing the energy efficiency; the technician will diagnose that too.
For more information, contact an HVAC contractor at a company like Ronnie Ritchie Service Co Inc.