The Biggest Air Leak In Your Home Could Be Under Your Bathtub

Sealing the nooks and crannies that air escapes from inside your house is important for a few reasons. First, for the sake of comfort and to save on energy bills. Energy Star mentions that air leaks contribute up to 40% of the total energy spent on cooling and heating, therefore, you can see just how much the leaks in your home are causing a dent in your pockets every month. Having said that, it is also necessary to highlight that not all leaks are that obvious. If you have caulked all your windows and doors but the energy bill is still high, you might have another source of air leak in your home. 

The hole under the bathtub is a major culprit for air leaks that often flies under the radar. Plumbers cut holes right through the subflooring to fit the bathtub drain. Often the hole is big enough to allow air to easily flow in and out all year long. So is this hole the biggest contributor to the air leak problem in your home? Stick around to find out!

How to detect this leak

The first order of business is identifying if you have this hole in the first place. Unfortunately, the only way to do this is to get under the basement and inspect the area. If you have a bathroom installed on the first floor right above a crawl space or even above an unconditioned basement, it is possible that you have one of these holes under your tub. Don't be tricked into thinking the bathtub can keep the cold air from flowing into your bathroom. 

Unless the area is insulated, air will always find its way into your bathroom area and eventually make its way into other rooms through the cracks and crevices on the baseboard, or even electrical outlets, notes Energy Vanguard. Air leaks from the basement can easily go undetected especially if you don't know what to look for. The good news, however, is that fixing this leak is quite easy once you get to the root of the problem. Let's take a look at the best way to seal this hole and solve the problem for good.

Sealing the leak

Now that you have gotten to the bottom of the air leak problem in your home, it is time to find a permanent solution. There are different approaches to fixing this problem — first, you can try the DIY route. The first order of business is to assess this opening and whether there was any attempt by the plumber to cover this whole. If there is any evidence of insulation, it is possible that it has lost its integrity and you need to find alternative ways of covering the holes. One way to seal the opening is by using a foam board cut to fit the space around the drain. 

Be sure to secure the board permanently with screws and also insulate further with spray foam. However, for a regular homeowner with minimal handy skills, it is better if you seek professional help from a reliable plumber. While this might cost you about $45 to $200 per hour, per Mr. Rooter, it is your best shot at getting a permanent solution to the air leak problem in your house.