Use a Candle to Find the Mystery Air Leak in Your Home

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With temperatures dropping across the country over the past few days, any air leaks likely in your home have become especially noticeable. Perhaps you knew these cracks and crevices were there, but weren’t ready to deal with them yet. Or maybe, you’ve taken the time to properly seal your home, and think you’ve taken care of all the leaks, but the steady stream of cold air coming through your wall says otherwise.

It seems like it should be straightforward enough: Find additional leaks, and then seal them. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t locate the leak. Here’s what to do if you run into that problem.

How are youLight a candle to find air leaks in your home

One way to locate mysterious air leaks in your home is to use a candle. Here’s what to do:

find the right candle

in general, tall, thin Candles—like the ones you put in candlesticks, or use in candlelight—work better than candles that come in glass jars. This is because you will need the flame to be open and accessible.

Some experts, including those United States Department of Energy (DOE), suggest lighting incense sticks instead of candles for this task. While it will definitely get the job done, it will leave your house smelling like incense sticks (which not everyone has).

block off any sources of draft

This air-leak-detection method is more effective if there is no type blowing wind Coming from fans, or forced-air heating systems. It should be pretty easy to turn off any fan, but if you don’t want to turn off your furnace, at least wait until it’s actively blowing air through the vents. (Or close or temporarily block the vents.)

pass your house

Now light the candle and get to work. Starting at the wall, floor, or general area where you felt the air leak, slowly and with utmost care- move the candle around the room, noticing each time you pass over or near area prone to air leakageSuch as windows, doors, baseboards and switch plates.

If the flame flickers-or goes out completely-in a certain area, you’ve probably found your leak. But to be sure, hold the lit candle perfectly still near the same spot See if the flame flickers or goes out. (In the case of the first time, it happened because you were moving the candle around.)

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