Why Should You Draft-proof Your
It can be expensive to heat a home in Nova Scotia’s climate. Draft proofing a house to reduce air leakage is often the least expensive way of achieving significant savings on your heating bill.
A thorough job of caulking and weather-stripping will reduce cold drafts and make your home more comfortable.
Approximately 60% of Nova Scotia’s annual residential energy use goes towards heating our homes. Much of that energy can be saved. Retrofitting your home will help save our valuable energy resources, and will cost less than producing new energy.
Major Sources of Air Leakage in Homes
• Foundation wall and floor assembly
• Exterior walls and floors
• Rough openings around windows and doors
• Electrical boxes for outlets and switches
• The attic hatch and frame
• Where the plumbing vent pipe enters the attic
• Ventilation intakes and exhausts
(dryer vents, central vacuum exhausts, etc.)
• Where an interior chimney enters the attic
• Behind a bathtub or shower enclosure
• Where plumbing pipes or drains leave the building
• Overhangs for bay windows and cantilevered floors
• Plugs and switches on exterior walls
How to Locate Air Leaks
The first step in draft-proofing is to determine where the air is leaking in to and out of your home. The best way to do so is with a Home Energy Assessment. As part of this assessment, a blower door test is conducted on the home. This involves a large fan that depressurizes the house and identifies the locations of drafts. Another way to detect these air leaks is to use a draft detector. This is a simple device you can make at home by simply attaching a piece of tissue or light plastic to a coat hanger with clothespins. When held steady in the path of a draft, the plastic or tissue will flutter. As an alternative, you could use the smoke from an incense stick as your indicator. Air leakage is best detected when the air pressure difference between the inside of the house and the outdoors is greatest. Choose a cool, windy day in the fall, or a cold winter day. Turn down the thermostat to prevent the furnace fan from affecting the test. Turn on all exhaust fans (including the clothes dryer) that are vented to the outdoors to increase air leakage. Move your draft indicator
around window and door edges, electrical outlets, and other potential sources of air leaks. Make note of where your indicator flutters the most.
Locating the source of drafts in your home is just the first challenge. Next week we will be posting about calking and weather stripping to cut down on these leaks and put more money in your pocket!
Source: Efficiency NS