Air Sealing, Draft Proofing, Ventilation
Seal it tight…ventilate it right!
For today’s homeowner, the most common approach to reducing heating and cooling costs has been the installation of insulation. It’s easy to understand, and it makes sense - but there’s more to consider, like the reduction of air leakage, for example. This is an important component of the big picture, because it not only provides increased insulation, it also contributes to enhanced occupant comfort, and a healthier air quality environment throughout. However it’s applied, effectively sealing up the home makes a big difference.
Window caulking and weather-stripping are just two of the basic air sealing and draft-proofing methods that can create measurable results, even during the course of one season. In the home, air leakage includes the air that is entering the premises, and the air leaving the premises – it’s not a reliable method of ventilation and air circulation, and often results in low quality indoor air. As well, air leakage can contribute to an imbalance in moisture levels that can impact the health of occupants.
In terms of solutions, a great first step for the homeowner is to measure the status of the home’s “air infiltration” using a professional, and making us of the industry standard “blower door test”. By allowing air to flow in and out of the home through holes, cracks and crevices, it’s possible to gauge specific levels of leaking air. The suggested strategy after detecting air leakage is air sealing and draft proofing, with the introduction of mechanical ventilation to manage and maintain proper circulation.
Throughout the industry, and amongst reputable contractors and renovators, the formula for success is the same - seal it tight and ventilate it right. And sealing it tight means just that: sealing the window frames; the doorframes; the recessed ceiling lights; the heating registers; even the light switches and electrical outlets. According to industry professionals, there is no such thing as sealing too tight – just as long as suitable and adequate ventilation provides enhanced indoor air quality.
The fact is, when it comes to indoor ventilation and air circulation, the average homeowner knows far too little about the issue – and it has so much bearing on personal health and wellbeing. There are industry standards and best practices for evaluating indoor environments, and for dealing with ventilation using mechanical means. And a qualified contractor can do it all for the homeowner: the “blower door test”; the assessment of natural ventilation; and the calculation of minimum ventilation requirements.
Regardless of methods, a well-balanced combination of air sealing, draft proofing, and ventilation will contribute to a positive indoor environment: it provides improved levels of comfort for residents; it allows for significant seasonal energy savings; and it diminishes unwanted indoor moisture and pollution. Overall, it means that sealing the premises tight, while ventilating it properly, makes for a better-quality indoor environment. Season to season, the results are measurable and the benefits are noticeable.
To be sure, some of these efforts could be considered do-it-yourself projects, but for the most part, air sealing and ventilation requires a professional approach, from experts with the tools, equipment, experience and expertise.