Seal Air Leaks and Save Energy

US Dept of Energy Technology Fact Sheet on sealing air leaks to save energy.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Air Sealing Technology Fact Sheet

Air infiltration can account for 30 percent or more of a home’s heating and cooling costs and contribute to problems with moisture noise, dust, and the entry of pollutants, insects, and rodents.

The United States Department of Energy has written a technology fact sheet regarding the important of Air Sealing your home. The Technology Fact Sheet helps you understand the following:

  • What is Air Leakage?
  • What are the benefits of Air Sealing?
  • What is an Air Barrier?
  • What are the priorities for Air Sealing?
  • Where are these leakage sites?
  • Diagnostic Tool

The Air Sealing Guide also contains several visual examples of how, when and where to look for and prevent air leakage.

Air Sealing Checklists

The USDE also provides an extensive air sealing checklist which can vary from situation to situation. Here is a small excerpt from those checklists:

Before Drywall

  • Seal bottom plate of exterior walls with caulk or gasket; seal inside edge with caulk after walls are up.
  • Seal band joist with caulk, spray foam, or gasketing between top plate and band joist, and between band joist and subfloor.
  • For bath tubs on outside walls, insulate the exterior wall and air seal behind tub with sheet goods or plastic before tub is installed. After the drain is installed, seal the tub drain penetration with sheet goods and caulk or spray foam.

During Drywall

  • Seal drywall to top and bottom plates using gaskets, adhesive, or caulk.

After Drywall

  • Seal electrical switch, outlet, and circuit breaker boxes to drywall with caulk or foam.
  • Seal light fixture boxes, medicine cabinets, and bath and kitchen ventilation fans to drywall with caulk or foam.
  • Seal all duct boots to floor or drywall with caulk, foam, or mastic.

Air Seal Exterior

  • Repair any damaged sheathing pieces.
  • Seal all exterior penetrations, such as porch light fixtures, phone, security, cable and electric service holes, with caulk or spray foam.
  • If not using housewrap, seal all sheathing seams with housewrap tape or caulk.

Download Dept of Energy's
Air Sealing Guide

Who is the DOE?

The Department of Energy's Office of Building Technology, State and Community Programs (BTS) goal is to promote buildings that are more energy-efficient, comfortable and affordable.

The BTS conducts research and Development on technologies and concenpts for energy efficiency. They work closely with the building industry and with manufactures of materials, equipment, and applicances. They also promote energy saving opportunities which usually translate to money saving opportunities to home owners and builders.

You can find more information on the DOE and BTS on thier website: Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

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