Doorways and Windows: Seal it or Feel it

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It really is impossible to imagine how anyone ever lived without air conditioning, especially in the middle of the hot and humid Florida summers. During those months when your utilities bill naturally skyrockets, it is imperative that your air conditioning unit is working as efficiently as possible, and that the cool air being produced is not going to waste. There are a number of things you can do throughout your home to pinpoint potential leaks in your doorways and windows, and seal them off.

Locate Leaks

You can’t assume that air leaks in your home will be obvious and easy to find. In fact, there are places in your home that you probably have no idea are potential spots for air leaks. Be sure to check the following locations thoroughly:

  • Light fixtures
  • Dryer vents
  • All sides of doorways
  • Windows
  • The mail chute
  • Doggy door
  • Chimney vents
  • Electrical boxes and outlets
  • Attic door
  • Plumbing pipes and faucets

There are a couple of different ways to detect whether or not a leak is present. For areas that allow access on both sides, you can simply turn all the lights off and shine a flashlight directly at the location. If light shines through, you know that air is passing through as well. For less noticeable spots, turn off the air conditioning as well as all exhausts and fans. Use incense to create a trail of smoke. If the smoke moves towards or away from the area in question then you have probably detected a leak.

Seal Solutions

Once air leaks have been found, then you can proceed with the sealing process. The method for sealing depends on where the leak is in your home. Consider the following:

  • Use foam gaskets on wall outlets and electrical boxes.
  • Squirt expanding foam onto plumbing pipes.
  • Manually raise door thresholds.
  • Seal window gaps with removable caulk.
  • Install an airtight baffle to prevent recessed lighting leaks.
  • Weatherstrip the attic door.