We expected some unseasonably warm temperatures, but who would have thought the air conditioning could be on for multiple days in January. In fact, reports this week pointed to record highs across the globe for 2016. So much for our series of blog posts on heating in South Carolina! Thankfully, this week’s installment will cover some of the easier air leak issues you can address on your own (although Cooper Mechanical Services is always happy to fix any sized issue), and air leaks affect both heating and cooling efficiency.
In an earlier post we explored some of the probable causes for uneven heating and the presence of cold spots in your home. From leaking ductwork and poor insulation to an improperly sized HVAC unit or the need for additional zoning, there can be many culprits for warm and cold spots, some quite difficult to find.
Hot and Cold Spots Are Often Caused By Poor Sealing
That said, one of the most common and easiest causes of hot and cold spots to address is poor sealing. Inadequate sealing around doors, windows and joints not only brings in cold air, but also moisture. Feel a draft by the window? See a hairline crack under the front door and a glimmer of sunshine? Those leaks may seem small, but according to the U.S. Department of Energy, all air leaks in the average home can lead to a loss of up to 20% of conditioned air.
How to Check Doors and Windows
Any opening leading to the outside or an unheated garage should be checked for air leaks. It is important to inspect doors and windows using multiple senses.
Look: With the door or window closed, carefully look around the frame for visible gaps or cracks. Check the weather stripping around exterior doors for tears or wearing that allows for an uneven seal with the door frame. Inspect the caulking around windows for similar wear or damage.
Listen: Sometimes air leaks can be heard. Hissing or squealing noises around a door or window can indicate an air leak.
Feel: Use your hands to feel for cold spots or leaking air.
Finding Leaks With Simple Tests
Open Flame Test: Placing a flame near a door or window frame can indicate a leak if the flame or smoke appears to be wavering or drawn into the space between the door and frame.
How to Fix Small Air Leaks
The poor seals the create air leaks, and consequently hot or cold spots around your house, are relatively easy to fix. Your local hardware or home improvement store carries are variety of solutions for weatherizing your home. Common solutions are basic rubberized weather stripping and caulking. The Department of Energy also provides some great resources and guides for sealing windows and doors. Resealing these common problem areas may not fix all your uneven heating, but it’s a great first start, and one that has the benefit of improving overall efficiency and cost-effectiveness of your HVAC system.
If you feel like your air leaks may be coming from inadequate ductwork or duct insulation, Cooper Mechanical Services is equipped with tools to test the more hidden areas of your home where hot or cool air may be escaping. Our professionals having been serving the Myrtle Beach area for nearly 30 years and take comfort in knowing you are comfortable. Have a question or HVAC-related concern? Don’t hesitate to Call Cooper!