Courtesy New York State Energy Research and Development Authorityand Learning Solutions Winstanley

Finding air leaks in existing homes can be a trying task. Driven by air pressure from inside and outside the building, air can sneak in through any crack or crevice in a building's envelope and move through any number of convoluted pathways within framing cavities. It's impossible to seal every hole in an existing building, so the real task is finding the most significant air leaks in order to tighten the home as cost-effectively as possible. But how do you identify which holes are the biggest leaks?

A simple inspection protocol developed for air-sealing homes under EmPower New York (a program providing energy retrofits and education to low-income New Yorkers) uses a thermal imager, a.k.a. infrared (IR) camera, in tandem with a blower door. The procedure involves comparing thermal images taken with and without a blower door running, and...

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