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DIY Blower Door Test

9 September 2008

Ah, fall – time to start worrying again about those air leaks that make your home drafty during the winter.  If you want to save some money this cold season, weatherproofing and tightening your home is an easy and inexpensive way to help cut down on heating costs.  Here’s a little science experiment you can use to find the most problematic air leaks and seal them now before it gets much cooler (care of the Minnesota Department of Commerce Home Energy Guides):

If you have incense, you can use a lit stick of that, or a piece of thread to detect air leaks.  Hold the incense or thread near windows, doors, vents, outlets and any other place that an air leak could conceivably be causing you some issues.  When the smoke or thread moves with air currents, you have a leak! Mark that place with chalk and make a note to improve the weatherstripping there.

For leaky windows, you can’t beat the efficacy and price of plastic insulation. This temporary fix needs only scissors and a hair dryer for installation and can be easily removed when the summer finally returns.  And it really works!  For outlets, you can buy foam insulation for under $3 that can significantly cut down on air leakage.  Check out the DOC’s guides for more information.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Katja permalink
    7 January 2010 3:28 am

    Can you please explain what a lid stick is. I can’t find the exiplanation. Thank you.

    • 7 January 2010 9:02 am

      Hey Katja! What you really need is a LIT stick of incense, or even a piece of string.

      • Katja permalink
        7 January 2010 9:29 am

        Thank you. I’ll make some more research but will probably ask someone who deals with this kind of things. If you ask me, I’d put my hand-skin near the window and would feel if the cold is geting through. I have to translate something into my language and I have seen the picture of this stick with some sort of strings but can’t really say what it is.

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