Posts

Tips on Detecting Air Leaks in your Home

air leaksAir leaks in your home draw a substantial amount of energy, whether it’s for heating or air-conditioning. Perhaps you are already aware of some air leaks in your home, like doors and/ or windows, but to have your home well sealed, you should detect other, less noticeable leakage.

For a really detailed and precise measurement of the amount of air leakage in your home it’s best to contact a professional service that offers expert assistance in energy-efficiency. If you live in San Diego and the surrounding counties GGR Energy + Remodelling is a licensed design-build firm that uses innovative contemporary methods to assess and improve your home’s energy efficiency. Among other things, we deal with detection and sealing of air leaks.

Professional services have the skill and tools necessary to carry out blower door test, which is the perfect way to establish hard-to-notice leaks.

GGR performs whole home assessments that enable you locate areas in your home that require additional insulation.

But, there are numerous ways in which you yourself can explore exactly how much your home is leaking air.

Visual inspection

The meeting point of different building materials should be inspected visually on the outside of your home. This includes:

  • Outside corners
  • Exterior taps
  • The point where roof siding and chimney meet
  • Places where exterior brick or siding bottom meets the foundation

Inside you should have a close look searching for cracks and gaps in these areas:

  • Sockets
  • Switch plates
  • The area where the AC unit is mounted
  • Cables and lines
  • Areas around pipes and wires
  • The points where electricity and gas enter the house
  • Frames, weather strips and caulking on doors and windows
  • Baseboards
  • Fireplace damper
  • Attic hatches
  • Dryer vents in walls
  • Vents and fans
  • Foundation seals
  • Mail slots

Also check whether the outer storm door and the door shut properly and tightly.

If you can rattle your windows, it’s possible they leak air. The wiggle room suggests they’re not sitting tightly. If daylight creeps in through door or window frames, that’s where air leaks are. Inspect the storm windows for cracks or breakage.

Pressurizing the building

If leaks are particularly difficult to detect, you can carry out a basic “amateur” pressurization test for the building which will strengthen air infiltration through cracks and gaps, making them easier to spot. Here is the procedure. Remember you can only perform this on a cool windy day.

  1. Shut down all appliances that have combustion, like gas furnaces and water heaters.
  2. Close all doors, windows and flues.
  3. Turn on all the exhaust fans that will suck the air out, such as the dryer, bathroom fans, stove vent and window fans.
  4. Light an incense stick or a smoke pen and run it close to places where air leaks commonly occur. The smoke will tell you where the leaks are by wavering, tilting toward the outside or by being blown into the room. Instead of an incense stick or a smoke pen, you can moist your hand and use it as an indicator.

Other methods

There are two more ways in which you can test your home for air leakage.

The first is to have someone stand outside your home when it’s dark, while you hold a flashlight over all probable places for air leaks. This method, however, isn’t great for small holes and cracks.

To test your doors and windows, you can close them on a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill out without a lot of difficulty or dragging, the door or window definitely doesn’t shut tightly and allows air to infiltrate.

 

If you detect air leaks in your home, remember that investing in proper insulation saves you a lot of money and improves the quality of life of all the residents in a house. Contact GGR Energy + Remodeling today to find out how we can help you make your home more energy-efficient.

Common Home Air Leaks

Cha-Ching!! Do you hear that? That’s the sound of money going right out one, or several of the common home air leaks you could have in your home! I am one to admit, I thought there was no air leaks in my house until I researched further into it. There are many different common home air leaks, and you should triple check to make sure that you don’t have any, especially if you run your AC or heater often.

There are some more obvious causes of common home air leaks than others; like the chimney, wall cavities, windows and doors. Then there are the less obvious ones like an attic hatch or door, behind the bathtub and cabinets, poor insulation, and where the wood connects to wood. Sheesh! Is there anywhere that air cant leak?!  It is impossible for us to see where air is escaping, so you need to either hire a professional to come out, or buy some fancy devices. Professionals use state of the art technology including a blower door, which measure exactly how leaky your home is and thermal imaging camera, which can visualize some impossible to see leaks.

Common Home Air Leaks by GGR Energy

There are several ways to correct common home air leaks. If the air is escaping around light fixtures, you air seal with one part foam and burry with R38 or more of insulation. If there is a leak by a chimney, you want to get something to close the gap and ensure that it is safe to do so. The last thing you want when trying to close a gap, is to accidently use the wrong material and catch your house on fire. Check your weather strips, they are inexpensive and easy to install. Weather stripping works wonders on both windows and doors. The main area in a home, the living area, tends to have the most drafts especially if you have older windows and doors. Professional building performance companies are familiar with the process of air sealing, and can get your home into an acceptable range of air leakage.  Please note you can make your home tighter than what codes allow and may require mechanical ventilation for safety, so it is always good to rely on the professionals to diagnose the issue and provide you with the proper solutions.  Comfort, safety and energy efficiency included!

Common Home Air Leaks by GGR Energy

If you need help in locating or correcting a common home air leak, please visit us at GGR Energy either online or give us a call so we can come out and save you some money, and time! GGR Energy is committed to helping our customers save energy, increase their home comfort and make their home safer.

Indoor Home Health

Indoor home health and energy efficiency appliances

Can the health of your home affect your financial and physical health? Yes! Not only can an unhealthy home wreak havoc on your wallet but also, an outdated residence with poor indoor air quality can trigger coughing, sore throat, and shortness of breathe.  Scary to think when we spend a better portion of our time indoors! So, how can we get our indoor home health on the right track? First, by understanding the benefits of a healthy residence and second, performing a home energy assessment.

Physical and Financial Benefits of a Healthy Home:

Poor indoor air quality can leave our home far from a sanctuary.  According to E. Neil Schacter, MD, the medical director of respiratory care at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, “If you live in a home with chronically poor air quality, you can experience frequent headaches, long lasting colds, and bronchitis as well as chronic asthma.”[1]  Optimizing your home’s air quality can minimize pesky headaches and other related ailments. By making a few adjustments via air sealing, furnace replacement or ventilation improvements, your home and more importantly, you will be healthier.

Indoor home health is becoming more of a necessityNot only can poor indoor home health affect you physically but also, it can have a lasting impact on your wallet! Tired of opening your energy bill each month and seeing a big payment? Implementing energy saving technology or an indoor health plan can lower your monthly bill!  Better insulation or appliance replacement reduces energy consumption and in turn, saves you money!

For homes that have the option of solar, the long-lasting financial benefits far exceed the initial cost.  By using the natural heat from our California sun, solar lowers the cost to heat and cool your home.

Finally, a healthy, energy efficient home can make you money.  What better financial benefit is there than that?  Through Energy Upgrade California, homeowners can take advantage of cash rebates for energy improvements. With up to $4,000k in rebates, the program can be a financial benefit to homeowners!

Performing A Home Energy Assessment:

Take the first step to healthier home through a home energy assessment.  By taking into account a home’s outside shell and internal organs, a home energy assessment determines whether or not a home functions properly.  Depending on various factors such as year or construction material, homes may need updated in order to run efficiently and effectively.  By identifying and prioritizing changes through diagnostic testing, a home energy assessment can accomplish the goal of a healthy home and improvement of indoor health!

A healthy home can improve both your financial and physical health. Get your home’s health on the right track by performing a home energy assessment.

To schedule a home energy assessment or for more information on indoor home health visit GGR Energy at www.ggrenergy.com.

[1] Mann, Denise, For WebMD “Having a Bad Air Day? Improve Your Indoor Home Quality” Retrieved March 14, 2013.

Are You Energy Efficient?

Tightened 100 dollar roll.Lets face it, today people are becoming more aware of the fact that we consume and waste much more energy than we should. We do this in many ways that you might not expect.

For example:

  • If that tea kettle only needs enough water for one mug of coffee don’t fill it to the top causing your stove to work harder in reaching a boil.
  • If your light bulbs are not incandescent, switch them out to save money and energy.
  • In the summer months, take advantage of the weather and line dry your clothes instead of using the dryer. They will smell naturally fresh and that good old sun of ours will take the stains right out!

See this detailed energy saving list for more great ideas!

The Average Californian home consumes around 567 kw/h costing around $83.70 per month. When the weather changes, this price can go up rather fast. If you live in a home that has not been upgraded with energy efficient appliances and has not been checked for air leakage and poor insulation, your energy consumption can be way more than it should be. Here are a few questions that will help you see how energy efficient you are:

  1. Has my home been checked for air leakage around my doors, windows, and attic?
  2. Have my HVAC systems been cleaned and up to date?
  3. Are my HVAC systems and household appliances energy efficient?
  4. Is my insulation in the right place and is it the correct insulation I need for my specific home?
  5. Are my floors properly insulated?
  6. Are my lighting fixtures using Incandescent bulbs?
  7. Have I looked into solar power as a saving option?
  8. Are my windows high performance and installed correctly leaving no gaps for escaping air?
  9. Do I have a reflective coating on my roof to help the heat from the sun reflect off my home instead of being absorbed, saving me from using my AC more than needed?
  10. Do I change my AC’s air filters at least once a month to keep my unit running at its peak?

Educate yourself on how you can save energy everyday. It will undoubtably put that hard earned money back where it belongs—into your pocket.