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simple way to detect drafts?


julie53's Avatar
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10-28-04, 06:52 AM   #1  
julie53
simple way to detect drafts?

Can anyone suggest a simple to pinpoint the source of drafts?

 
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tect75's Avatar
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10-28-04, 07:22 AM   #2  
a lighted candle. hold in fromt of windows/ doors/ anywhere you suspect a draft. if the candle flickers and moves you have a draft.

 
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10-28-04, 08:23 AM   #3  
Go on line search there is a smoke pen that you can use. get a stick of incence..or get a cigarette and just light it.

ED

 
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10-28-04, 09:20 AM   #4  
Natural Draft is when warm air cools and becomes heavier than the air surrounding it and falls. Natural Drafts are air convective loops and are usually not noticable or sensed. Natural drafts that people usually sense occur near windows and masonry walls.

Air Infiltration resembles the characteristics of a Natural Draft. It is different because cold air from outside enters the home.

Air Leakage is the source of Air Infiltration and most sensible Natural Drafts. In other words, Air Leakage within the home results in Air Infiltration and larger temperature degree differences that make the air convective loops, usually found in homes, noticable.

The volume of air within the home remains constant, which means that you cannot let air into the house without letting out the same volume of air and vice-versa. Example - if you blow air into a balloon it will get bigger and if you let air out of the balloon, it will get smaller. Your home cannot get bigger or smaller as air enters and leaves it.

As cold air infiltrates the house it absorbs the heat from the warm air in the house. Thereby cooling the warm air in the house. Whille it is true that the hotter air is, the faster it will rise. The same is true with the colder air is, the faster it drops. This is what makes Natural Drafts noticable to you. Ordinarily, the warm air cools slowly and drops slowly. When cold air infiltrates the house, the warm air in the house cools rapidly and drops rapidly.

While a smoke stick or cigarette may help identify a Natural Draft or Air Infiltration, the question you have to ask yourself is, "Does it bring you any closer to solving the problem?"

 
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11-03-04, 04:49 AM   #5  
julie53
resercon

I always learn something from your posts !

"Does it bring you any closer to solving the problem?"

Answer; not really. That brought me to clarify my question; I just want to seal up any leaks.


julie

 
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11-03-04, 05:25 AM   #6  
julie53,

Well explained, I agree.

What resercon is saying is that there are two sources of drafts.
One, where the air from outside is blowing though an opening to the outside, or two, where you feel a draft in a room that is caused by perhaps poor insulation or an inefficient window, where there is no opening to the outside.

The latter would be corrected by better insulation or upgrading your windows, not caulking.


GregH.........HVAC/R Tech

 
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11-03-04, 07:37 PM   #7  
GregH has made a good point and julie53 inquiry is well noted. Air leakage is a major source of discomfort and high energy bills. Addressing air leakage in a home does more than just improve comfort and lower energy bills. In most cases, if not all, eliminates ice dams, moisture related problems in attics and more importantly it preserves the structural integrety of the structure.

Because the the natural bouyancy of warm air and its tendancy to equalize temperature with cooler air, the highest point in the house is where you will find air leakage. This area is also known as a High Pressure Area. Where air enters the house, which is usually at the lowest point, is known as a Low Pressure area. It is also the place where air infiltration occurs. In homes where there are large temperature degree differences between the ceiling and the floor or between levels, air leakage is the cause. Example a 10 degree difference between the first and second floor.

I teach people how to use equipment that will accurately measure and verify their effort in addressing air leakage. However, I tell them that they cannot rely on equipment to become proficient in addressing air leakage. They have to use common sense in order to become proficient.

For example, if you fill up you sink with water but the plug is not properly seated, all the water in the sink drains out. Depending on how well the plug is seated determines how fast the water drains out. The same is true with the heated air in the house, except that it is inverted. The heated air in the house during the winter rises to the highest ceiling of the house. If there are no holes in the ceiling, the heated air begins to build its way down. Just like the water in your sink, except inverted.

Unfortunately, you are going to find a lot of openings in this ceiling. Examples are whole house fan louvers in hallways, recess lighting, bathroom exhaust fans, attic pull down stairs, etc. For a whole house fan louver in a hallway, solution, tape a piece of plastic over it. Average savings on energy bill, 10 to 15%. With recess lighting, remove the face cover. You will see a gap between the canister and sheet rock, solution, tape over the gap between the sheet rock and the canister. Saving can be significant depending on the number of recess lights. Remove the cover from a bathroom exhaust and you will find the same thing that you found with recess lighting and the solution is the same. Also with exhaust fans, clean them periodically. In the housing for the fan you will find a damper. Clean that also so it closes properly when the fan goes off. Attic pull down stairs, stuff insulation between the stair frame and attic framing and tape air tight. There are also good insulating kits for pull down stairs. It is also a good idea to put a latch on the stairs to close it tightly.

I have been asked this question thousands of times, Which will save me more money on my energy bills and increase my comfort, Air Sealing or adding more insulation in my attic? Air sealing will and it will cost you less than one percent of what it would cost you to insulate your attic. Surprizingly, most people don't believe me.

 
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11-04-04, 06:12 AM   #8  
julie53
Thanks again resercon, now I have a place to start! the ceiling.

 
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11-13-04, 05:21 AM   #9  
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resercon

A couple of questions if you don't mind.

When you state "With recess lighting, remove the face cover. You will see a gap between the canister and sheet rock, solution, tape over the gap between the sheet rock and the canister" do you mean tape from the attic or from the room where the light shines? Also, what type of tape do you recommend?

Thanks for any help!

Jim

 
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11-13-04, 03:43 PM   #10  
Duct tape is fine and it would be easier from inside the house instead of the attic. You just have to careful to apply the tape so the cover covers it when you re-install it. You can also take it a step further once you tape the gap. I like to go into the attic and foam around the canister, provided it is an insulated canister. another method can be seen at this site.

http://www.nol.org/home/NEO/home_const/details/rcld.htm

 
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12-07-04, 10:08 AM   #11  
Great info resercon, thanks.

I just purchased two 1"x2'x8' pink insulation boards to insulate my pull down stairs to my attic. I figured I would make a box with a removable top so I can still utilize my attic. Plus I would weatherstrip the door where it meets the moulding. I am on a strict budget as I continue to finish my basement project.

My 2 questions are...
Am I wasting my time with the pink board?

If not can I use construction adhesive to join it to itself?


Thank you,

Paul - Mass

 
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12-07-04, 11:57 AM   #12  
http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings...pdfs/26447.pdf

Check out the above state website. It actually gives you diagrams, dimensions and materials lists to accomplish what you want. A great project for the doityourselfer.

 
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12-07-04, 01:40 PM   #13  
Looks great.

Thanks again.!

 
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