If you like to keep your home nice and cool in the summer but you hate high energy bills, insulate your house against the outside heat.
New insulation in the attic might help, but if you have tiny gaps and air leaks around the house, you'll still waste money on energy costs. Here are some tips for finding and fixing energy-wasting air leaks around your home.
Use a Thermal Scanner
You can hire a company to do an energy audit on your home for professional results, but if you don't want to spend that much money, you can rent a thermal scanner and do the job yourself. Use the scanner or camera like you would to take pictures of your home with a regular camera. The pictures will simply look different.
You'll see images that show colors based on temperature. When you take a picture of your front door, it may show a bright orange border around it where heat is leaking through the sides. By scanning your entire home, you can find areas that need to be sealed or where insulation needs to be added.
Look for Gaps Around the House
Although a thermal camera is handy and helps you find tiny leaks, you don't necessarily need one. Go around your home and look for gaps. This can be a tedious job because you'll have many places to look.
Air leaks are possible any place two different materials join together. Check your windows, doors, pipes, and cables that go through the wall. Seal the gaps with caulk where it's needed.
Try a Smoke Test
A smoke test is another test performed in an energy audit, but you can also do a home version. This involves closing all your windows, turning off the AC temporarily, and turning on the exhaust fans in your home so air is pulled out of your house. If there are leaks around windows and doors, air should flow in.
Then, move an incense stick around the door frame and windows to watch for the smoke to change directions and signal a draft of air. This verifies an air leak is present so you can add weather stripping or make repairs to windows or doors.
Test the Ducts
Finding leaks in ducts is much more difficult and it might be a job you want to leave to a professional unless you're a determined DIYer. Incense isn't safe to burn in your attic, so you'll need a smoke pencil or similar equipment that releases theatrical smoke.
You could also use your damp hand and try to feel for leaks. Check for leaks by sealing returns and registers and turning on the HVAC fan. Then, move the smoke pencil along the ducts to watch for movement of the smoke. If you find leaks, seal them or have them repaired so chilled air won't leak into the attic. An HVAC specialist can ensure your ducts aren't interfering with your air conditioning system's efficiency.
Seal leaks in your air conditioning system and around your house to increase the energy efficiency of your HVAC. Once you've taken care of leaks, have the HVAC unit cleaned and inspected twice a year right before the cooling season and again before the heating season. This ensures your HVAC operates efficiently and doesn't run up your power bill trying to keep you comfortable.
If you want the best performance from your air conditioner this summer, arrange for a service call by contacting Riverside Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. We'll clean, service, and repair your system so your air conditioner is ready to keep your home cool.