Sealing Air Leaks to Keep Your Air Conditioner System Efficient

One of the challenges faced by air conditioners are leaks found in the home. Not only can the cold air leak out, hot air can also get in making your air conditioner work that much harder to do its job. However, you can take the time to find and seal the leaks in your home that are causing the additional costs of running your air conditioner harder and longer.

How to Start

You can start by making a drawing of your home. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just the basic outline that shows all of the doors and windows. Then look at the roof and mark the vent pipes that rise above it such as the soil vent from the bathroom and the exhaust chimney from your furnace as well as the hot water tank or other openings that go through the roof. Look at the soffit along the roof line and check for any damage that may allow cold air to escape to the outside as well as allow hot air to get in.

You can then divide the house into three basic sections: attic, basement and walls. It may also be helpful to know where to find some of the more common places in your home where air leaks are found. These places include:

  • Any hatch or entry to your attic
  • Plumbing vents
  • Recessed lighting in any room and the soffit boxes that hide them
  • Duct boxes that hide heat or cooling ducts
  • Rim joist, where the walls are sealed to the foundation
  • Doors and windows

Start with the largest leaks you find since they will be the biggest source of air leakage and cost you the most money on your utility bills. Check the attic where the floors meet the walls and where the roof meets the walls. These are two of the most common areas where insulation may be missing or damaged. If you find rotted insulation or it appears to be damp, you will need to take a closer look at your roof for leaks.

Insulation that appears dirty may be a sign that air is allowed to move over it. By closely examining the dirt you should be able to tell the direction of the draft, find the hole allowing the air in and plug it with insulation. You can also ask a heating and air contractor about the type and amount of insulation you need for your home.

Check around windows and doors, looking inside and out. On the outer walls check to see if there is adequate caulking around the window frame. If it is cracked or missing, you will need to clean all of the old caulking off the window jamb and apply new caulking. Never caulk over old cracked caulking as it will fall off fairly soon.

On the inside, check for gaps around the window with the sash closed. There are numerous products on the market including foam rubber tape that can be applied to the bottom of the window sash to seal out air when the window is closed. Similar tape can be used to seal around your doors and a door sweep can be handy to keep air from getting in, or out, through the bottom of the door.

So if you haven’t surveyed your house yet for air leaks, now is the time to do it. Sealing up air leaks is going to help you save on your energy bills and keep your air conditioner running efficiently for what is left of summer but when you will be thankful for all these changes when winter comes too.

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Comments 2 comments

midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

Wow, Better're certainly a handy person! Thanks for this. I think we tend to forget the leaks aspect. That's how much of the cool air doesn't get compressed and circulate. Thanks for sharing! I share this useful hub too.

Better Yourself profile image

Better Yourself 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks for sharing midget38! And I'm glad you found the Hub useful!

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