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Fun with a Thermal Leak Detector

On Tuesday I talked about using incense to find leaks. But an even better way to do that is with a thermal leak detector. I didn’t realize how cool they were until Jason’s coworker Ahsan let us borrow his. This isn’t a thermal imaging camera; those show a picture with different colors for different temperatures and are much more expensive. This is more like a gun that shows the temperature of whatever you point it at.


I didn’t think we’d have many leaks left, but we did find some interesting things:

  1. The plastic-in-a-frame that we put in the single-paned window above our couch really makes a difference. It stayed 10 degrees warmer than the uncovered window at night. It was still 10 degrees colder than the wall beside it, but that seemed to be on par with the double-paned windows. Now we just need to do this for the other two single-paned windows in the house, too.
  2. I always knew that honeycomb shades insulated, but it was neat to actually see it. With the shades down, they’re 9 degrees warmer than the uncovered window (at night).
  3. The draft guard on the closet door actually makes a difference. It’s on an outside wall, so it’s 10 degrees colder in the closet than in the bedroom.
  4. Despite the old weatherstripping and sweep, the back door isn’t weatherized as well as it could be. Especially on the corners, where it’s 6 degrees colder than the door itself.
  5. The crack between the floor and the baseboard along the outside wall is letting in a draft in places. We caulked it last winter, but it’s widened since then.

Yes, the thermal leak detector showed that we still have some work left to do, but it also showed that some of our choices were actually making a difference. What’s more, it was really fun to use—and way more accurate than the incense.


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Time January 1, 2017 at 9:53 am

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