You wouldn’t hit the slopes without your shell, right? Wearing a fleece down the hill just wouldn’t cut it. We like to think of homes the same way. You can’t just insulate your home, you have to air seal it too. The insulation in your home, just like the fleece you wear, can only keep the heat in if the wind is kept out. By air sealing you restrict air flow, just like a shell protects your body from the wind. Together, air sealing and insulation make the difference between a cozy home and a drafty one.
If you added up all the leaks, holes and gaps in a typical home’s envelope, it would be the equivalent of having a window open every day of the year! (Source: EnergyStar.gov)
If your home feels drafty, you probably need to seal it up. Air sealing is designed to prevent unwanted air from flowing out of (or into) your home. This often occurs around windows, garage doors, recessed can lights, attic openings, and crawl spaces. By addressing air leakage, you also address comfort and indoor air quality issues that might be present in your home. The idea here is to seal up the home as tightly as possible, then ventilate it properly so you know where the fresh air is coming from.
You can tackle air sealing on your own with a caulk gun and by adding weatherstripping. To make sure the job is done thoroughly, we recommend consulting a professional who can utilize different technologies to identify air leaks.
This illustration identifies the most common sources of air leakage found in the average home.
HOW TO IDENTIFY AIR LEAKS
The simplest way to identify an air leak is by feeling for drafts in areas of your home that should be airtight. Have you noticed a whistling sound near your windows? Do ice dams form around your roof in the wintertime? Are there gaps at the bottom of your exterior doors? Can you feel drafts around the window or door frames? If you answered “yes” or “I think” so to any of these questions, you need to air seal.
To confirm your theories, get a home energy assessment and a BPI-certified Building Analyst will come to your home to use a blower door and infrared camera to locate air leaks. A blower door test de-pressurizes your home, creating an environment that makes air leaks easily identifiable. By using the infrared camera during the blower door test, building professionals can target the air leakage and also measure the overall air infiltration rate of your home.
HOW TO PAY FOR YOUR PROJECT
In some cases, a few tubes of caulk and some weatherstripping can do the trick. But for those of you in need of more thorough air sealing, give us a call to discuss your options.
CORE rebates: 25% of project cost up to $500
- Energy Assessment required
- Air infiltration levels must be measured by a blower door test before and after air sealing
- Your project must demonstrate at least a 10% air leakage reduction, as measured in CFM50 by a blower door test
Utility rebates may be available from: