Where You Can Find and Plug Energy Leaks This Fall
Cooler weather means you’ll be running your commercial heating system more often. It also means that there are more chances of wasting energy and money if your facility has numerous energy leaks. Here are some good reasons to plug energy leaks in your business’s building and suggestions for where to look for the most wasteful leaks.
Why Plug Energy Leaks?
The simplest reason to plug energy leaks is to stop the waste of heat. Heating costs account for a significant portion of a company’s budget. When heat leaks from unsealed openings in the building’s structure, it escapes without being used to warm your indoor environment. The energy and money you’ve spent to warm that air is lost with no benefit to you. In addition, you have to spend more money to warm additional air to make up for the loss. This makes your heating bills unnecessarily high and could create hundreds or thousands of dollars of needless expense.
Energy leaks also cause other problems that could eventually cost you time and money, including:
- Extra wear and tear on your HVAC system as it works harder to make up for lost heat. This could cause more breakdowns in your heating equipment and shorten the useful life of your HVAC system.
- Reduced indoor air quality. Holes and gaps in your building’s structure that allow heated air to escape can also allow airborne contaminants in. This can result in increased amounts of airborne particulates, fumes, and odors inside your commercial facility.
- Inconsistent heating and poor indoor comfort. Air and energy leaks make it difficult for your HVAC system to provide an even, consistent level of heating throughout your building. Areas with air leaks are more likely to be colder and more uncomfortable than other locations.
Where to Find Energy Leaks
Energy leaks occur when there are cracks, holes, gaps, or other openings in the structure of your building. These leaks let warm air out and cold air in.
You can find energy leaks by using techniques such as:
- Visual inspection: Look for any obvious openings in your building’s structure that could cause an energy leak.
- Physical inspection: Physically feel for drafts or cold spots that indicate the presence of an energy leak.
- Commercial energy audit: Contact a professional energy auditor for a commercial energy audit of your facility. The auditor will conduct the necessary inspections to find leaks. In addition, the auditor will use sophisticated equipment and techniques to locate hidden leaks that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Some of the more common areas to look for energy leaks include:
- Doors and Windows: Leaks often occur around the frames and casings of doors and windows.
- HVAC ductwork: Any leaks in the heating system ductwork can let large amounts of warm air escape before it even gets inside your facility.
- Wall penetrations: Areas where pipes, conduits, wires, vents, fans, or other objects penetrate the wall can be a major source of energy loss.
- Basements or crawl spaces: Basements or crawl spaces under your building, especially those that are not insulated, can contribute to energy loss.
- Light fixtures and electrical outlets: Energy can often escape from around these electrical system components.
Methods to plug energy leaks can include:
- Caulking around door and window frames, window glass, and casings.
- Adding weatherstripping or sweeps to doors and windows to stop drafts and leaks.
- Using caulk or other appropriate material to seal gaps, cracks, and holes in the wall.
- Replacing or rebuilding damaged walls or other areas with large leaks.
- Making sure all ductwork sections fit tightly together and that connections are sealed with mastic or other appropriate material.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information about how to find and plug air leaks in your commercial space, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!