Air leaks can make your home noticeably colder, meaning that you waste more energy trying to keep the heat levels constant. The issue is a classic problem with convective heat transfer, where any heat that you do create actively seeks colder climates. If your house has draughts then it’s creating an easy channel for the warm air inside your house to escape and dissipate, making your heating bills higher.
Homeowners are being offered more and more ways to make their homes more efficient and there are few that are as simple or as affordable as plugging the air leaks in your property. A recent independent film called “The Future of Housing”, which was featured on London Eco House back in May, looks into the number of improvements that can be made through simply making a house more airtight. The most obvious being a hefty saving in heating bills as well as having a more eco friendly property that will be worth more to the owner.
Here’s some advice and tips on how to detect air leaks in your home
One of the simplest is, on a windy day, keep your ears peeled for the sound of air rushing in and out of your house. Listen particularly hard around basements, cellars, doors and windows.
According to one advice website, you can test the seal on your doors and windows by taking a piece of paper and deliberately closing your door on it. If the paper doesn’t rip then this may indicate that the seals on your door or window are weak enough to let air through.
I’ve seen multiple websites that have recommended the use of incense as a particularly helpful method for detecting airflow in houses. By watching the movement of the smoke, you can quickly find air leaks and draughts within the property.
If you’re looking for a definite way to reveal air leaks then renting an air compressor can be a helpful tool. With one person blowing air on the outside of your house, you can detect where the air enters inside. Alternatively, you can also use torches at night for a similar method, although this involves a lot of work in the dark for those inside.
Additional Air Proof Tactics
Chimneys can obviously allow heated air to flow straight out of your home. A chimney balloon is one of the best ways to offset this, sealing the pathway in a manner than can still easily be removed the next time you want to have an authentic fire burning. There are even some guides on how to make your own.
Once you find leaks, there are many ways you can fill them depending on the material surrounding them. Polyfiller is incredibly helpful for a variety of surfaces but any kind of sealant is of use. Draught guards can also be purchased to limit the loss of heat though essential openings, like letter boxes.
Of course, these are small-scale efforts whereas the gents working on “The Future of Housing” are able to use far more advanced methods. Through the use of fans, they’re able to create negative pressure in a house and then secure all leaks found. This is a process that results in a secure home that is noticeably warmer, they have even reported on some families barely needing any heating after the fact.
The difference in ambient temperature is often immediately noticeable, as was the case for Leo Hickman in his book “A Life Stripped Bare”. Even the minimal work of sealing holes in their wooden floor improved their heating quickly, meaning that they could set their radiators to lower temperatures. For such a small cost and (often) minimal effort, you can potentially enjoy a substantial change in the temperature of your home. What have you got to lose?
Thanks again to our guest article writer Kayleigh Herbertson for another excellent contribution to our blog.