The sound of a leaky house

Diagram of an inexpensive diagnostic tool most of us already own.

I’ve highlighted a number of cheap or free ways to find leaks in your home in earlier posts (and of course a free energy audit from Mass Save is always a top-choice.)

Here’s one more: If your hearing is good, you can actually –hear– a leaky house.

I’m lucky to have good hearing, wicked good in local parlance.  Often times I’ll be in someone’s home and while they’re telling me they feel cold I am hearing that their windows aren’t closed. How? A window that is properly closed and latched won’t allow the same sounds into the home that an unlatched or leaky window will. You’ll hear cars driving by, families walking to school and the birds all louder and clearer. When closed and latched all those things are still audible, but the sound is muffled, less distinct.

Same holds true for insulation – you can often hear if a large swath of insulation is missing in a particular bay or side of the home.

So if your hearing is good, give it a shot. Turn off all the noise-makers in your home (sometimes this can include light fixtures) and take a listen. You might be surprised what you can hear.

Note: While listening for holes in the home envelope and insulation is a neat trick, it is never going to replace what you learn from an actual energy audit, so don’t think that a listening tour of your home is sufficient, but it is useful and fun.

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