Air leakage occurs when outside air enters and conditioned air leaves your house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. It is unwise to rely on air leakage for ventilation. During cold or windy weather, too much air may enter the house. When it's warmer and less windy, not enough air may enter, which can result in poor indoor air quality. Air leakage also contributes to moisture problems that can affect occupants’ health and the structure’s durability. An added benefit is that sealing cracks and openings reduces drafts and cold spots, improving comfort.
The recommended strategy is to reduce air leakage as much as possible and to provide controlled ventilation as needed. Before air sealing, you should first:
Detect air leaks
Assess your ventilation needs for indoor air quality.
You can then apply air sealing techniques and materials, including caulk and foam. If you're planning an extensive remodel of your home that will include some construction, review some of the techniques used for air sealing in new home construction and consider a home energy assessment to identify all the ways your home wastes energy and money.
Insulation in your home provides resistance to heat flow and lowers your heating and cooling costs. Properly insulating your home not only reduces heating and cooling costs, but also improves comfort.
In houses with forced-air heating and cooling systems, ducts are used to distribute conditioned air throughout the house. In a typical house, however, about 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. The result is higher utility bills and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.
How do you know that your home has poorly performing ducts?
you have high summer and winter utility bills;
you have rooms that are difficult to heat and cool;
you have stuffy rooms that never seem to feel comfortable;
your ducts are located in an attic, crawlspace, or the garage;
you find tangled or kinked flexible ducts in your system
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