Too often overlooked, tightening the shell, or the envelope, of one’s home offers many positive returns. The trick is finding the holes, bypasses, cracks and gaps. The shell of the home, and typical spots for leakage, are identified in this graphic:
Those losses, broken down by percentage of overall leakiness:
So, air infiltration robs one’s home of the “bought” air; hot air wants in during summer and warm air wants out in the winter. In most homes there are opportunities everywhere to stop this from happening. Rooms might feel drafty, but is it really the window frame that’s causing it? Or is it the cool air pouring out from under the closet door because the plumbing access inside the closet is gushing air that’s traveling from the attic and down behind walls? Figuring this out can be very hard because two houses built exactly alike, right next to each other, will leak in different places. We can help solve this riddle. We have several ways to pinpoint the weak spots and the one of the most effective involves the use of a thermal imaging camera.
Leaky ductwork is another area where conditioned air can be lost and unwanted air can enter the home. Sometimes the biggest losses can be eliminated by sealing the cabinet around the home’s air handler. Especially important is sealing ductwork in an attic or crawlspace to stop conditioned air from escaping—and to stop that outside air from entering the home’s duct system. Through blower door and duct register testing, we can identify those weak spots and help reduce the money and energy losses caused by a ‘loose’ system.
It is important to note that a house can be made too tight, and sealed too well, which is why we recommend air sealing be performed in concert with blower door testing. This ensures that correct and healthy air change rates are achieved and that the home is still allowed to ‘breathe’ naturally. A home without outside air exchange can trap moisture and stale air, creating an unhealthy living environment. Sometimes the best option is to seal the home tight and provide proper air change rates through mechanical ventilation. We have the tools and the expertise to help homeowners get this right.