Every building has gaps in its thermal envelope—exterior walls, windows, doors, roof, and foundation. Even a well-insulated home can lose as much as 30 percent of its heat through small cracks around door and window jambs, thresholds, and frames, which are responsible for the largest waste of energy in residential buildings. Combined, these gaps can be the equivalent of having a 2-foot-wide hole cut in the side of the building.

The cost of a poorly sealed building goes beyond energy losses. Leaks can cause moisture buildup inside of walls, damaging wood framing, electrical systems, and insulation, and creating a condition that fosters mold growth. Sealing a house is the simplest and most cost-effective way to reduce energy use. Seal all visible openings or cracks with a low-VOC exterior grade caulk, weatherstrip doors and windows, and replace or repair gaskets and latches. Caulking and weatherstripping usually pay for themselves in energy savings within one year.

Sealing ductwork can improve equipment efficiency by as much as 20 to 30 percent. In addition to wasting energy, leaky ducts can also result in health problems due to pressure differences between the interior and exterior of a building. If negative pressure is created in living spaces, smoke from fireplaces, combustion gases from furnaces, and fumes from stored cleaning supplies or paint can be sucked back into the building. Reseal accessible joints in ductwork with mastic, patch any punctures, and replace damaged areas. Exposed hot- and cold-water pipes and ductwork should be insulated to avoid energy losses and unwanted condensation.

0 0

Post a comment