Air Leakage Control: The Devil's in the Details

January/February 2005
A version of this article appears in the January/February 2005 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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January 01, 2005
Avoid dread customer callbacks - due to drafty new houses, moisture problems, and high energy bills - by air sealing properly.
        Uncontrolled air loss from a building can have a significant impact on occupant comfort, and on what it costs to operate and maintain a building. Typically, air infiltration can account for 25% or more of a home’s heat loss. In fact, many callbacks related to comfort, moisture problems, or high fuel bills can be directly traced to air leakage into and out of the conditioned space.While builders routinely provide controlled openings for ventilation and for exhausting the byproducts of combustion, unintended air leakage is undesirable. Proper air sealing can often make the difference between a comfortable house and a cold, drafty house.         The occupants of the home, whose initial concerns are likely to focus on color schemes and finished appearances, may never see many of the leakage sites. Direct penetrations, such as leaky baseboards, windows, receptacles, and band joists, can account for a lot of builder callbacks simply because occupants feel these leaks and are disturbed by them. If it is allowed to penetrate building cavities, moisture-laden interior air may condense on cold surfaces, leading to mold and rot. It’s generally bad for business ...

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