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Air Leakage In A Home Wastes Heating And Cooling - And Costs Money

April 21, 2017

In a typical home, air leakage is simply a waste of winter heating and summer air conditioning. While most homeowners might seek a remedy by improving insulation, that's really only part of the problem. For experienced home energy experts, resolving the actual air leakage has proven to be much more impactful than most other approaches - it's the first step to energy efficiency. For optimum energy efficiency, a home should be effectively sealed. This will allow air movement (in and out of the home) to be better managed. Once a home is well sealed, the HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) manages air circulation more efficiently throughout the home. With better overall energy efficiency, utility costs are reduced from season to season.

The "blower door test" measures air leakage in a homeair leakage hot and cold air escaping

A "blower door test" assesses the rate of air leakage in a "building envelope". Using specialized equipment, this test determines air tightness and identifies areas of the home that are leaking air. In fact, during a Home Energy Audit, "before and after" results are particularly valuable in order to understand where to retrofit, to what extent, and with what type of products. The "blower door test" depressurizes the home, causing outside air to flow into the home by way of gaps, holes, and cracks. Once completed, the test determines the various sources of air leakage and the extent of the problem. With this type of analysis, a home with little air leakage achieves a high rating, while a home with substantial air leakage will achieve a lower rating.

It's important to assess the entire home for air leakage

In most every home, there's air leakage due to poorly sealed windows and doors. But, there are also other sources of air leakage. This is where a home energy expert would be valuable, knowing where to look and where to test, and consequently, how to remedy. Whatever the source of air leakage, it's like leaving a window open all the time - simply a waste of heating and/or cooling. Companies like Great Northern Insulation examine the entire "building envelope" of a home and identify the full scope of air leakage. In this way, air leaks can be properly sealed, whether in the walls, floors, ceilings, or roof cavities. A well-sealed home, with appropriate air ventilation, will experience fewer drafts, better air quality, and most importantly, reduced heating/cooling bills.

Air leakage can be addressed with a variety of retrofits

All homes (including new construction) suffer from air leakage. As for remedies, there are several options - everything from draft proofing windows and doors; to sealing up gaps and openings; to installing spray foam insulation. The idea, of course, is to diminish air leakage and gain control of air movement throughout the home. Home energy efficiency is the key to reducing energy costs for winter heating and summer air conditioning. At Great Northern Insulation, homeowners are assured that industry professionals are handling their home energy issues. For more information, visit the website at www.gni.ca or call toll free 1-800-265-1914.

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