Air leakage can be a major problem in both new and existing homes. Eliminating air leakage can save you money and make your home more comfortable and easier to heat and cool.
- Infiltration of humid outside air is your heating and cooling system’s worst enemy – it could account for 15% to 30% of air conditioning energy requirements.
- Find the places where air can sneak into your home and plug them up.
Air leakage (not only in structure of the home but air leakage in duct work) can:
- Contribute significantly to higher heating and cooling cost.
- Create comfort and moisture problems.
- Promote a path of pollutants such as radon and mold into homes. Exposure to radon gas from the ground (crawl space) is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer (after smoking).
- Serve as a prime entry for insects and rodents.
- Cause drafts cause window fogging or frosting..
- Agitate allergy problems increase dust and dirt inside the home.
Note: Recommended measures to address air leakage problems in the home air seal attic area (by-passes and tops of walls)
- Seal any by-passes in crawl space/basement caulk exterior around chimneys and overhangs.
- Caulk and install weather stripping around doors and windows inside and out.
- Bath fans and vented kitchen fans need to be vented to the outside of homes.
- Seal and insulate duct - work in unconditioned spaces, such as attics and crawl spaces.
- Check fireplace dampers for a good tight fit when not in use. Heat can and will escape through an open chimney or fireplace even when not in use.
- If you do not have a damper install a fireplace cover. It is also recommended that quality glass doors be installed on fireplaces to prevent back drafting. Back drafting occurs when the combustion by products of a gas appliance is drawn back into the home rather than being vented out through the chimney. Back drafting can also be caused by exhaust appliances such as bath fans, kitchen fans, duct returns and clogged chimneys.
- Check attic insulation to a recommended R-30 to R-38, or approximately 10" to 12". Insulating the attic is one of the least expensive things that can be done and have the one of the greatest impacts on your heating and cooling utilities cost.