Do You Have a Fresh Air House?

DraftyHouse2

All houses are drafty to some extent, although older homes seem to have more “fresh air” flowing through them.  When talking drafts,  most people are referring to winter time cold air drafts. They seem to forget if the cold air enters in the winter then the hot air will enter in the summer when you are using the air conditioning.  Stopping the drafts is a great way to save energy and therefore energy dollars.

 

To find a solution we must first know if we are talking about an already completed house or a house that is under construction. If you are talking about an existing completed house, the answer is yes you can improve or correct some of this air infiltration, but not all of it. If it is a new home under construction, there are various construction products and methods that can be used to virtually eliminate these pesky drafts.

 

Please take note that you can go too far, making the house “to tight”. Indoor pollutants such as cleaning products, scented candles, etc., or off gassing from carpet, furniture finishes, etc. can contaminate the air inside a home.

 

There are several ways to calculate and measure the air transfer/leakage inside your home. The official measurement method is called “Air Changes per Hour or ACH.  In the average built home the ACH is generally in the 4 to 6 ACH range. The recommended Air Changes per Hour (ACH) is 1.5 to 2.5, with an absolute minimum being .5 ACH. In my opinion an ACH of .5 or even a 1.0 ACH would have the stuffy feeling, or stale and stagnant air. Also keep in mind the more times the exterior door is opened the more air is exchanged, and this will in part depend on how many people are in that space.

 

It is best to test and find where the major drafts are coming from and correct the worst areas first. Pick a windy day and use an incense stick, or a wooden matchstick to “see” the draft. The smoke trail is the trick, hold it next to windows and electrical openings, really any opening. Now observe how the smoke reacts, obviously the more movement of the smoke trail the stronger the draft.  After identifying the major areas, use the appropriate material to seal that area.

 

Sealing your home and saving on energy is a great way to save energy dollars, but not the easiest to prove exactly how much you saved, because the outside conditions are constantly changing. Rest assured the less the furnace and air conditioning actually run the more money you will save.
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