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Posted December 12, 2014 by HomeownerExpert in Maintenance & Repairs
 
 

How to Find and Fix Air Leaks in Windows and Doors



Air leaks are fairly common in windows and doors. Leaks let cold air in during the winter months (and allow conditioned air to escape in summer) making it more difficult to keep your home at the right temperature. This can really drive up your heating and cooling costs. If you haven’t checked your windows and doors for leaks lately, you can find and fix air leaks in a few simple steps.

Air Pressure Test

A home air pressure test is a simple and effective way to determine whether or not you have any leaks in your windows, doors or other openings. Here’s how it works:

  • Seal your house as tight as possible by locking all windows and doors. Turn off your HVAC and shut all dampers and vents.
  • Turn on the exhaust fans in your kitchen and bath. This will create a pressure imbalance that will cause air to be sucked in through any leaks that may be present.
  • Hold a stick of burning incense near each window and door. If there are any leaks, air will rush in, causing the smoke from the incense to be blown away from the leak.

Once you’ve detected leaks, you can seal them with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping. If you don’t detect leaks with an air pressure test, you can perform a more thorough inspection to make sure your windows and doors are secure.

Windows

  • Inspect window panes for cracks. This is one of the most obvious potential problems, and cracked glass should be replaced.
  • Give your windows a little shake – if they rattle, it means the frames are not secure. Windows that rattle are probably allowing rain to seep in and conditioned air to seep out, but they can be fixed easily enough with caulk and a few nails in the surrounding frame.
  • Look closely around the edges of your window frames. If any light can be seen between the frame and the wall, you have a leak.
  • Check the locks, and make sure the windows slide smoothly up and down and can close securely.

Doors

  • Check the weather stripping around your door for peels and cracks, and replace it if necessary.
  • Make sure all hinges are tight, and the door can close snugly and securely.
  • Inspect wooden doors for cracks, which diminish their ability to keep water out and conditioned air in.
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