In an energy-efficient home, the thermal envelope is well sealed in order to keep heat in during winter and to keep heat out in summer. Air leaks indicate breaches in the envelope, and this translates energy loss. Here is more about detecting these leaks and why doing so is worth the effort.
Why Sealing Air Leaks is Important
- Save energy — Air leaks diminish the efficiency of your heating and cooling system to heat or cool your home. The system has to put out more effort to achieve the desired results, and this uses more energy.
- Promote better air quality — Leaks allow unfiltered, polluted air to mix with your indoor, filtered air.
Identifying Air Leaks
You might already be aware of drafts around some windows or doors. However, most homes have additional leakage sources. These include gaps around plumbing and much more. Take a walk around the perimeter of your home and inspect all exterior walls and your foundation. Pay special attention to areas around dryer vents and plumbing appendages.
The surest way to discover air leaks is to have an energy evaluation of your home. The technician performing this will use professional equipment to detect temperature and pressure variations within your home.
Sealing leaks usually does not take much time and is well worth the effort.
- For windows and doors, you will need caulk and some variety of flexible weather stripping in addition to door sweeps.
- For ducts, you will need to use duct mastic to seal gaps in the joints and metal tape for other areas. If the joints are loose because of missing screws, remember to replace the screws before applying the mastic.
- Buy foam gaskets for your electrical outlets.
Some common leak sources require special fire-retardant materials. These include flues and recessed lighting, unless the lighting is insulation contact rated. Recessed light fixtures without this rating pose a serious fire hazard if insulation touches them. Instead, look for insulating caps intended for recessed lights.
For more information about sealing leaks in your home’s envelope, please contact us at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 231-714-6196.
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