Where are air leaks most commonly found in a house?

I want to deal with them to cut heating expenses.
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Jonathan Grobe Books
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Jonathan Grobe wrote:

exchanger that recovers outbound heat then fine but otherwise the old ranch needs some fresh air and if it's to tight you have health issues, excess moisture, mold and the like.
One or two things you could do to conserve heat would be to provide a fresh air vent into your dryer room so that the dryer is not sucking cold air in through every opening, no matter how tiny, in your house, including causing back drafts in gas water heaters and fire places and the like. Fire places will do the same thing too! Air goes up the chimney so it has to come from somewhere. Al
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On Sat 31 May 2008 01:25:22p, Al told us...

A *controlled* amount of air intake is wise, but ill fitting doors and windows can allow far too much outside air to enter the home. Doors and windows seem to be the worst and most obvious culprits.
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Wayne Boatwright
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On Sat, 31 May 2008 21:32:22 GMT, Wayne Boatwright

Forgot where I read it, but maintenance of doors and windows (insulation) can save about 30% of energy loss.
Just sealing doors and windows good, will save money.
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get a air door blower test, it pressurizes your home then leaks are looked for and plugged
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On Sat 31 May 2008 03:33:02p, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com told us...

How expensive are those tests?
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On Sat, 31 May 2008 22:38:44 GMT, Wayne Boatwright

More than just sealing the windows and doors.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Rueful chuckle- if there is anyone in your area that does those, or the thermal camera scans during the colder months. Nobody within 50 miles of here that I have been able to find. Power company, gas company, insulation companies, etc, all just gave me shrugs.
-- aem sends...
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Your utility (in my case, the gas company) might offer a free or low cost energy audit. They come check out your house and tell you where you've got problems.
nancy
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wrote

...but in my case, they won't if it has already been done, even if it was 10+ years ago and 1 owner ago. Once per lifetime of the house is their policy.
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Wow, that's weird. Guess he can call and try.
nancy
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Utilies will only do it if they provide the primary heat (natural gas or electric). But I use propane.
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Caulking, caulking and caulking.
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But what exactly needs to be caulked?
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Caulking should be done where two different materials meet such as where brick meets windows or siding, around door frames and vents. Also in the attic where wires go through wood framing. (Many localities require fireproofing caulk in these holes) If you have hot water heat you can insulate the openings for pipes or ductwork if you have forced air. The foam backer pad that can be put behind your wall switch plates can have a noticeable effect.
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On Sat, 31 May 2008 20:05:05 +0000 (UTC), Jonathan Grobe

1. Anywhere there is a wall penetration. Outlet & switch boxes are leaky, and not just those on exterior walls. Any outlet box has a piece of conduit or Romex that ends up going through a hole into the attic. Thus the outlet leaks into the wall which leaks into the attic. Put those foam outlet seals on all your outlets. If you cant use the foam seals, get into the attic and caulk around all the conduit penetrations into the attic.
2. Around the foundation perimieter where the foundation meets the wall. Seal the sill to the foundation with caulk. I had an added benefit when I did this. I've been plagued by mice in the basement ever since I bought the house. Never could find how they were getting in. Havent had a single mouse since I caulked around the foundation.
3. Where plumbing penetrations go through the wall. Seal all pipes and drains.
4. Ceilling can lights into the attic.. Replace your fixtures with IC-AT, insulated ceilling-air tight, fixtures
5. Around doors, particularly at the door sill. Weatherstrip all around
6 Around windows. My new energy efficient double hung windows leaked horribly where the 2 window panes came together. I ended up shoving cotton balls in the cracks.
7. Fireplace Flues. leakage out of these is major cause of heat loss. At a minimum, make sure the damper is closed. But dampers really are bad at sealling. Google on Chimney Balloons and install one of those.
8. Bathroom Ventilation fans. Dont know what you can do there. I dont know if there are models with built in dampers or not.
9 Attic entrances in the ceilling. Especially the pull down stairs , They leak like a seive. weather seal the perimeter and build yourself an insulated box around the stairs itself. I think you buy kits for that at some home centers.
10. Medicine cabinet recessed into the bathroom wall.
11. The bathroom wetwall. Does it connect with the basement and the attic? This is a major leak site. The hollow wall acts like a chimney between the basement and the attic in many houses. Seal both the top and bottom.
Do you get the idea now when I said any penetration through the wall into the interior living space is a candidate for a leak.
If you have some rooms that are not totally plastered/drywalled, like with a wood ceiling instead of drywall, then all around the perimeter of the room is a candidate for leaking.
I had a blower door test doneon my house and frankly, I could have done without the test. Just seal up every penetration. The operator of the test already knows where all the leaks will be, but he has to convince the homeowner of that. So the blower shows the homeowner the leaks. But as others have said, you dont want to totally seal a house. You have to allow for fresh air and combustion air to replace that which goes up the furnace flue.
My house, according to the test was leaking at roughly 3 times the rate of todays standard for a tight home of its size. After sealling most of what the test found, I was still at twice the current leak standard. But it would be too costly to replace the bathroom vents and the can lights, so I decided that was enough. Frankly, I saw no reduction in either my heating or gas bill last winter so air leaks must not place a big role in heating problem. Its a 50 yr old ranch house. What I did notice is that it became more comfortable. Cold spots were gone.
Google on Blower Door Test. There's some good information on the Web explaining what is expected to be found and where the common leaks are.
-dickm
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dicko wrote: ...

That probably simply means the reduction in heat loss was compensated by the fuel cost increase such that the total was still roughly equivalent. What it doesn't account for is what the bill would have been had you not reduced leakage. And, of course, if you did go from 3X to 2X, you actually only made a reduction of 1/3-rd which isn't nothing, but it still left 2/3-rds the existing so it's not too surprising you didn't cut heating load by a huge amount. It certainly isn't a proper conclusion to draw that air leakage isn't a significant contributor.
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If you have a forced air system, there would be a good place to start.
Windows & doors would be next. Pick a Hot or cold day and walk around the exterior. If you find a hot or cold area start checking why.
Rent a IF camera to find hot or cold areas.
Frankly hiring an experienced professional may be well worth it as they will have the tools and the experience to know where to look and how to look. Different parts of the country will have different problems as well as different construction or age of the home.

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Joseph Meehan

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