The Importance of Detecting Air Leaks in Buildings!

There is a real problem when air leaks are happening in a building. If unsealed and not fixed, this minor issue can greatly affect energy usage in the space, decreasing efficiency and increasing energy bills. Although detecting them is the work of an expert, it is important to know how to detect this type of problem so that response can be made at an early stage and prevention of worst-case scenarios can be avoided.

Inspection Tools

Upon calling a professional commercial roofing contractor to detect cracks and air escapes, a variety of tools and inspecting methods will be used, from the simplest to the most sophisticated ways such as visual inspection, smoke testing and infra-red. Tools such as blower door, smoke guns and thermal imaging are used to accurately pinpoint cracks or heat loss points. Below are some of the tools commonly used to inspect for air leaks.

  • Blower Door – One means of detecting leaks is with a blower door apparatus that is used by experts. This type of tool is installed and sealed into a building’s entry. A fan that is calibrated to move according to the controlled air volume per minute is attached with another tool to display both the inside and outside building air pressures. A reading of the instrument’s measurement changes per hour is then made to determine the extent of air leakage of a structure. With that result, a recommendation will be submitted as a starting point for a company’s energy savings. When the savings recommendations have been completely established, a repeat blower door test is conducted to evaluate the success of the changes.
  • Smoke Gun – A smoke gun is another tool used with hardwood flooring, formal stairwells and other points where smoke can be sprayed. Following the trail of any disappearing smoke, sealing any discovered cracks and opening will only result in little or no change to energy consumption. The disappearance of smoke indicates that these openings are only a sign of convective loops of the structure. Convective loops means that air movement through the building is due to the differences in temperature among the different building areas, simultaneously bringing out warm air to some areas while conveying cool air through other opening points.
  • IR Scanners and Visual Evidence – Infra-Red (IR) scanners are tools used to survey temperature variations in a building; this could locate any areas of heat loss caused by missing insulation or bypass leaks. This tool can quickly identify temperatures on exterior walls with interior partitions. When surveying wet insulation especially in building cavities, be careful of areas that are already dried out. Since there are times that the IR scanner will not produce any useable information even if there are problems present in the area such as mold, insect damage or rotting, it is important to have a visual reference. Referring to any history or records of prior building inspections concerning the details of any past leaks would be very helpful in discovering any leaks or entry points.

The usage of such inspection tools have resulted in both spectacular energy savings as well as barely noticeable changes with energy bills. The consensus is that in the long run, these bill reduction steps can result in some energy bill savings which is always a good result of such action. By knowing some of these helpful tools or even investing in some of them, a return on investment will sure be seen by learning to detect air leaks!