Why pay such high costs to treat and heat the air in your home if it’s escaping anyway? The U.S. Department of Energy reports that as much as 30% of heating and cooling costs can be contributed to air leakage. Creating an air seal (a seal that prevents the passage of air or vapor) is the solution, and it’s simpler than you might expect. Insulation like spray foam or injection foam will create a total barrier for your home to block the movement of air in and out of your home. It will cover all the small, hard to reach places and fill in every gap.
Air infiltration is often noticed around the trim of a window, under a doorway, hidden underneath a foot of insulation in the attic, or completely out of site in a dirty crawlspace. Air leaks can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of expenses in the form of repairs and medical expenses due to indoor air quality issues. They can also cause damage to the house’s structural integrity. Air that leaks out of your home is replaced by air drawn from the outside in an uncontrolled fashion, which creates uncomfortable drafts in your home. Unless you have a proper air barrier installed, your home will also absorb moisture from all of the infiltration. This can cause mold growth, water damage, or pest infestations. While outdoor air increases indoor air quality, relying on cracks and gaps for ventilation is not a good idea. The gaps carry moisture, pollution, and allergens into your home. You should rely on air sealing, then proper ventilation methods such as bathroom and kitchen exhaust vents.
Air sealing is ideally completed at the framing stage for new construction homes (but it can be done in older homes too). Creating an air seal will significantly increase the insulation’s ability to do its job. Acrylic-latex caulk, fire-rated caulk, or spray foam insulation (for larger gaps) is typically used. Sealing your home will not only reduce your energy bills and reduce the waste of natural resources, it will reduce the drafts and humidity level in the house, making for a more comfortable environment—especially in the winter months.
Hiring a professional to air seal your home is a decision you’ll be happy you made, and one that leads to a healthy, efficient home.