How To Save Up To 30% On Your Energy Costs (Yes, It’s Possible)
Tuesday, July 14th, 2020
Not air-sealing your home is like leaving a window or door wide open. Air-sealing is one of the single most important steps to creating a comfortable, healthy, and energy-efficient home – all while cutting your heating and cooling costs up to 30%.
When good air leaks out, bad air leaks in!
Understanding the “Stack Effect” – the laws of convection cause warm air in your house to rise. As it rises, it moves up through the attic, passing through dozens of cracks and exposed openings. As this air is lost, new air is pulled in from the crawl space, basement, and outside, only to be heated and then lost again. This cycle of air ex-filtrating from the top and infiltrating from the bottom is known as the “stack effect.”
Small Air Leaks Mean Big Money!
When houses leak air, you’re left continuously paying to heat, cool, and dehumidify air from the outside. Air leaks are an enormous waste of energy, and they make it much more costly to keep your house comfortable.
The US Department of Energy shows how much air leakage occurs in various locations of an average American home:
- Ceiling, Walls, and Floors – 31%
- Ducts – 15%
- Fireplace – 14%
- Plumbing Penetrations – 13%
- Doors – 11%
- Windows – 10%
- Fans and Vents – 4%
- Electrical Outlets – 2%
These numbers give us a good idea of some common locations that leak air, however, performing a home energy audit, or a blower door test is what pinpoints the exact locations of air loss. These tests can also assess your entire home’s energy consumption and waste.
“Installing insulation without air-sealing is malpractice.” – Larry Janesky, founder and CEO of Dr. Energy Saver.
Janesky couldn’t have said it better. Air-sealing is one of the most critical yet overlooked steps that many contractors all over the country fail to do. The truth is, contractors actually create air leaks (they can’t help it!).
Air leaks are built into the construction process as your house is being assembled. As soon as the framing crew finishes their work of nailing together your studs, joists, rafters, sheathing, and beams to create the house shell, another team of workers march in and begin to cut it apart.
Electricians, HVAC contractors, and plumbers will drill and saw their way through floors, walls, and ceilings, creating channels for the wires, heating ducts, water lines, and waste pipes that need to be run throughout the house.
The holes that are created don’t compromise your home’s strength, but they do result in a network of leakage points that can let air move in and out.
You may be thinking that insulation can fix this problem. Well, unfortunately, insulation can only do so much if you still have air coming in through multiple cracks and gaps. It does not matter how much insulation you have packed into your walls and ceilings. If you haven’t air-sealed, you are not going to get the most out of your insulation. Additionally, you will be paying for it each month when your energy bill arrives.
You wouldn’t leave a window open on a cold winter night with the furnace going full tilt – or on a warm day in summer while running the AC. But that’s exactly what you’re doing if you haven’t air-sealed your home!