Why Air Sealing Is The First Job Before Insulation
How old is your home?
While contracting practices have progressed drastically over the past few decades, most improvements come in the form of safety, security, and efficiency. But even with all of these technological advances, you’d be surprised at how much air leaks from your home, even on the newest construction projects.
Air leakage is measured using an Air Changes per Hour (ACH), which compares the amount of air a home exchanges with the amount of air a home can take in. Ideally, a home should change somewhere around 35 percent of the air source, or 0.35 ACH. If your home is operating at this level, it has enough air to remove contaminants and provide a fresh air supply sufficient for healthy breathing.
However, for most homes, that’s not the case.
For almost all existing homes, poor ventilation exists because of unintentional air leakage. For some older homes, it’s not uncommon to have air leakage rates of 0.6 to 1.0 ACH.
Most people associate air leakage with drafts around doors and windows. And while those are great places to start with and reduce the amount of air flow, they aren’t your only problems. Reducing air leakage in the attic, crawl space, basement, and garage are big energy wasters too.
What can be the cause?
- Holes in ceilings, walls, and floors where light fixtures, plumbing, wires, ducts, or other mechanical components connect to your home.
- Joints throughout your home where walls connect to ceilings, or to floor boards.
- Dead air spaces over cabinets, around shower stalls, in dropped ceilings, or anywhere where large pockets of air can settle and impact the rest of your home.
While air sealing is one of the most important jobs to do to ensure your home is warm and properly ventilated, it’s difficult to do after insulation is blown in. That’s why you should ensure a reputable contractor understands the air sealing process, and does appropriate tests to ensure your home is sealed tightly before the insulation is installed. Just adding new insulation may initially seem to make your home warmer, but if you don’t combine it with air sealing, you’ll quickly see your results fall off.
How efficient is your home? Is it time to improve your home with new insulation?