Keep a Lid on Air Leaks and Water Leaks
A leak is a mark of serious problem with the energy efficiency of your home, whether it be an air leak or a water leak. Not only can any form of leak cause you to waste unnecessary gas and electricity to heat and cool your home, leaks can also cause significant property damage if not taken care of promptly. It’s a rainy Spring this year in Ontario, so make sure you take the following steps to clear any leaks in your home.
Clean Your Gutters, Roof, and Outers Walls
Buildup of leaves, dirt, and debris on your roof, gutters, along the outer wall of your home can lead to water blockage that can cause damaging leaks to your home. Inspect the exterior of your home for water pools that are building up due to these blockages, as they can sink into your home and cause basement flooding.
This Spring, take a few hours out of your weeks to clear up these areas to allow a clean flow of water through your drainage systems. If your roof has sustained damage over the course of the winter months, you may have to have repairs done. However, roof leaks can put your home at significant risk if you allow them to occur unchallenged.
If your home requires a sump pump, you should take time this spring to make sure it’s properly inspected and functional. Spring basement flooding can do a lot of damage to developed basements and it very difficult to clean up when flooding does occur.
Test Your Windows and Doors for Air Leakage
During the winter, many materials compress in size due to cold air blowing against it. As the weather begins to warm, your window sealing and doors may spring leaks as the material is weakened. Air leaks can cause significant energy loss in your home if not taken care of, and can leak to those characteristic uncomfortable cold drafts.
There’s multiple steps you can take to test for air leaks in your home:
A visual inspection: Look for warping around the edges of your windows and door, especially along moving parts such as your window locks and sliders. Check the caulking on your windows for damage, cracks, or where it may have come loose from the glass.
The Pressure-Smoke Test: For homes with exhaust vents, such as those found in bathrooms or kitchens, this option is available. Shut your home completely against outside air, turn off anything that generates heat or combusts (furnaces, stove), then open these exhaust vents. Then take something that generates a small amount of smoke, such as a stick of incense.
As you hold the stick up to windows and doors, air leaks will push smoke away from the source of the leak. This is because the exhaust fans are creating a vacuum in your home, drawing air through leaks where they can be easily detected.
Thermal Test: For problem leaks you can’t detect with the above methods, you may invest in a thermal thermometer. This device can be held up to windows and doors, and it will note changes in ambient temperature. This can detect very miniscule leaks, and can help you find even the most hidden ones.
Get an Energy Audit
If your home is large, it can be a hassle to examine every inch and every nook for potential leaks. Many companies offer free in-home energy estimates, and the experts can help you detect where sources of energy loss are originating if caused by leaks that are hidden or difficult to reach.
As we move into summer, keeping our homes energy efficient is still very important. The nights still get cold, and we benefit from a sealed home while running our air conditioners in the dead of summer heat. So as we transition from a freezing cold winter into a pleasant spring, we encourage you to check your home for leaks and enjoy all the comforts your home has to offer.