Air Sealing and Duct Sealing

Impact of leaky ducts and or a leaky house

If you wanted to keep a specific room at 72F and an even 50% relative humidity, what is the easiest way to do that?

The short answer: control infiltration. This basically means that you would want to keep the air that is in the room in the room, while keeping outside air out of the room. This same mechanic can be applied to trying to ensure that you have the cleanest air in the room, possible. By controlling the infiltration sources, you limit the amount of outside influences that might wreak havoc on controlling temperature, humdity, and even general health of the air inside your home.

Building Envelope Leakage

Envelope leakage is the amount of air that naturally moves in and out of your house under natural conditions, and can be measured using a Blower Door test. This test uses a large fan mounted in a doorway to draw air out of your house very quickly, measuring the pressure difference from inside to outside, combined with the amount of air moving through the fan, to determine just how much infiltration your home's envelope experiences. Older homes have a very high infiltration rate, while newer homes are being built to tighter and tighter construction standards. Some homes are so tight today that they actually require mechanical forms of ventillation to be introduced in order to increase the home's ability to breathe.

Another common misconception with new homes - people automatically assume the air outside is worse than the air inside. This seems like common sense in the Valley where we have notoriously bad air quality, but the reality is much different. Air inside a home (particularly homes that are less than a year old) is typically 5-7 times less healthy than the air outside. The reality is that everything in the new home is wet. Not wet to the touch, but wet on a molecular level. Everything in a new house, from drywall and paint, to carpets, to furniture, goes thru a drying process. This process is referred to as off-gassing, and can release a lot of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air that can cause problems of their own, especially for people sensitive to dust, allergies, and aesthmatics.

Duct Leakage

In today's energy modeling, the largest culprit for energy loss in most homes today is predicted to be duct leakage. Duct leakage can have a tremendous effect on both the energy efficiency of your Heating and Cooling system, but can also have a dramatic impact in the overall health of a house.

If I had a hose to move water from one location to another, and that hose had a bunch of holes punched in it, it would be obvious where all the water was lost along the path when you see the puddles begin to form. The same situation exists within your duct system, only you cannot see the pools of water form where there are leaks. Duct testing with a smoke machine is the industry standard for finding and fixing leaky ducts. The repair process can often be cheaper than replacing a duct system, but sometimes replacing the entire system is the correct approach.

A leaky duct system also has the potential to pickup VOCs from out of the building envelope and bring them into the volume. If your return duct had a large hole in it, it would suck in air from the attic. If the filter is in the return grille in the ceiling, that means any air sucked in via the hole in the return duct would be un-filtered. That means all the dust, dirt, and any other chemical, poison, etc, could be introduced into your home.

It is important to have your home tested if you are concerned about Envelope Leakage or Duct Leakage. The tests are not overly expensive and can provide you the piece of mind needed, or point you in directions to make repairs that could have dramatic effects, both on your health, and your energy efficiency in your home.

Energy Upgrade California

Why upgrade your home?

When it comes to energy, your house is a system—insulation, air ducts, windows, furnace and air-conditioning—that work together. An energy upgrade makes sure that each piece functions well so your whole house is more efficient.

An energy upgrade can help you...

  • Save energy and lower your bills
  • Make your home more comfortable in all seasons
  • Improve the air quality inside your home
  • Conserve resources and reduce greenhouse gases

Why upgrade NOW?

Limited time rebates and incentives could save you thousands of dollars on your upgrade project.