Air leakage, or infiltration, is a major problem in both new and older homes. Besides wasting hundreds of dollars on energy bills, air leakage paths can cause building durability problems, increase the risk of fire spread, permit insect and rodent entry, and create unhealthy indoor air quality. Reducing air leakage usually adds little to the materials’ cost of a house and does not require specialized labor.
Although windows, doors, and outside walls contribute to air leakage, the biggest holes are usually hidden from view and connect the house to the attic, crawlspace, or basement. The key is to identify these areas during the design process, assign responsibility for sealing holes, and check to ensure that the air sealing was done effectively. Usually, seal all the big holes first, then the large cracks and penetrations, and finally the smaller cracks and seams.
Great Care Should Be Taken To Seal The Following Areas:
- any openings or cracks where two walls meet, where the wall meets the ceiling or near interior door frames
- gaps around electrical outlets, switch boxes and recessed fixtures
- gaps behind recessed cabinets and furred or false ceilings such as kitchen or bathroom soffits
- gaps around attic access hatches and pull-down stairs
- behind bath tubs and shower stall units
- through floor cavities of finished attics adjacent to unconditioned attic spaces utility chase ways for ducts, etc., and plumbing and electrical wiring penetrations