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Air-Sealing Tips for Efficiency That Lasts // Part 3: Planning for Intentional (and Some Unintentional) Holes in the Air Barrier

Summer 2017
This online-only article is a supplement to the Summer 2017 print edition of Home Energy Magazine.
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May 16, 2017
This is part 3 of a series that describes how to air seal the most difficult parts of buildings. We’ve emphasized throughout this series that continuity is the top priority for your air barrier. Holes and penetrations are the enemy. So how do we deal with doors, windows, and utilities—“holes” that are necessary for the design of a habitable building? Even a perfect air barrier must have penetrations for windows, doors, electric cables, water and sewage lines, telecom lines, and ventilation. Beyond these indispensible penetrations, some buildings have to be designed to accommodate pet doors, appliance exhausts, and fireplaces. Although we think you can and should limit or eliminate as many penetrations as possible from that second list, the first can’t be shortened. Good planning and workmanship at these penetrations is critical to ensure robust air barrier performance.

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