As winter approaches, it’s important to prepare your facility by sealing all air leaks. An air leak is any crack, crevice, or opening where heated air escapes your facility, and cold air from outside can come in. This affects the efficiency of your heater as well as the comfort of your tenants. Even small air leaks can create major expenses, so the sooner you fix them the better.
Air leaks typically occur where two building materials join, or where an opening such as a door or window is placed. Air leaks can also occur where piping enters a building, where vents are placed, or any other area where building materials may expose a crack in the structure. These areas are built to be sealed, but over time your building’s structure may weaken and air leaks will begin to cause problems.
There are several ways you can detect air leaks at your facility. Some can be done by your staff, while others require specialized equipment from your maintenance technician.
The flashlight method.
This simple method for detecting air leaks can be done with the help of one of your facility staff. If you notice a draft in an area of the building and suspect an air leak, partner with someone else to shine a flashlight at the area from inside. If the light can be seen from the outside (this works best at night), then you likely have an air leak. This works well for windowless doors, vents, and other areas with noticeable gaps.
The dollar method.
If you believe a door or window is to blame for your increased HVAC costs, try the dollar bill method. SImply close the door or window on a dollar bill, and see if it can be easily pulled out. If so, the seal around the door or window is not tight enough, and you have an air leak. These can typically be fixed at a low cost, and the cost-savings will make this fix practically pay for itself.
This technique is an advanced method used to find air leaks you can’t detect with the naked eye. Thermal imaging allows your maintenance technician to detect changes in temperature within your facility. If they notice an area of the building that is significantly colder than the rest of the space, they can use advanced methods to find the air leak and repair it.
Once you detect your air leak, you will need to call MaintenX to find a solution. Air leaks should be plugged as soon as they are detected to help you save more and stop paying for wasted heating and air conditioning. Different options ranging from caulk, weather stripping, foam, and equipment repairs can all help you reduce your winter heating expenses.
These efforts can save your facility nearly 30% on energy costs if done properly. To learn more about air leak prevention and solutions, contact your local MaintenX team today!