Improving the building envelope of your house is one of the best ways to get better energy efficiency.
Any holes or gaps in your home’s “building envelope”, which consists of the building components that separate the interior from the exterior (i.e. exterior doors, windows and walls), will draw the warm air up and out of your interior living space. You can significantly diminish drafts in your home by sealing these leaks.
Renovations offer many opportunities for creating a high-performance building envelope. The line of attack is to reduce air leakage as much as possible with proper air sealing and insulation and to provide “controlled” ventilation as required.
Inadequately caulked or sealed windows, doors and attic hatches can impact the integrity of your home’s building envelope. Other common areas where air leakage may occur are around recessed lights, kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, dryer vents, crawl spaces, electric outlets, fireplace flues and chimneys. These areas should all be inspected for drafts.
For a precise measurement of your home’s air tightness, hire a qualified professional to conduct an energy audit. A home energy audit assesses how much energy your home consumes and evaluates what measures you can take to make your home more energy efficient. An Energy Advisor will conduct a blower door test, which depressurizes a home, and can reveal the location of many leaks. A complete energy assessment will also address insulation and indoor air quality issues.
Methods for air sealing leaky components of your home’s building envelope typically entail weather stripping and/or caulking. Weather stripping is used on areas that move, such as windows and doors, while caulking is used for static areas, such as the frames of windows and doors.
Healthier Indoor Air Quality
Combined with proper ventilation, air sealing allows you to better manage your indoor air quality. A well sealed home is more resistant to pests, dust and allergens.