Your AC unit may not be cooling your home like you think it should. You might think that it is time for an AC repair or replacement but the problem may have nothing to do with the unit itself, but instead is the result of leaks in your home. Fortunately, there are many ways you can find air leaks on your own and you can also perform an air blower test.
Common Air Leak Locations
In many cases, the air gaps are obvious after a quick visual inspection. The areas that are the most likely to have gaps are those areas where building materials meet. Look for outdoor faucets, locations where both the siding and the chimney meet, areas near the foundation where brick and siding meet and all corners. Of course, cracks can form on any materials that will require that the cracks be repaired in order to eliminate air leaks. On the inside of your home, inspect any areas where wires or dryer vents pass through. Look for ways to insulate areas where air would obviously pass through, such as fans and fireplace dampers.
Windows and doors are also common places where air leaks can occur. If you are able to rattle the door or window, air will likely be able to pass through. If this is the case, you may need to have the window or door repaired or replaced so that no air passes through.
Performing a Pressure Test
The best way to ensure that your home does not have any air leaks is to perform a building pressurization test. This will increase the amount of air that will infiltrate the windows and doors, which will make it easier to determine where the air leaks are coming from. You will need to turn off exhaust fans that release air outside and any large window fans. All windows and doors that lead to the outside must be shut. Make sure that all combustible appliances have been turned off. Choose a cool, windy day to perform this test. Then, use a lit incense stick to determine the locations where air is entering by checking if the smoke is moving and if the light flickers.
While each of these tests is inexpensive, there are some cases when you are simply unable to determine where the leak is coming from without the help of a professional. Fortunately, resources like http://www.capefearair.com can help.