New Home Air Sealing Priority Locations
Building a new home includes numerous decisions for you and your family during construction. Air leaks and air sealing is probably not one of them. The contractor generally completes air sealing on their own, but you should still have some knowledge about priority locations.
Air Sealing and Insulation
Saving energy and money are among the goals of constructing a new home while keeping the area’s climate in mind. The installation of a combination of insulated sheathing and cavity insulation accomplishes these goals. Reducing exterior wall leaks is accomplished by caulking and sealing exterior walls and taping outer sheathing joints. The tapes and adhesives used today are designed to last for years and are almost impossible to replace.
Random movement of air is blocked by air barriers. These barriers prevent the leakage of air into and out of your new home. Accounting for thirty percent or more of your cooling and heating utility bills. You must also include vapor barriers in certain climates, and your builder knows the energy efficient construction codes for your climate zone.
Other barriers are part of the structural and finish portions of new home construction. Holes and seams between drywall, sub-flooring, and sheathing by using double caulk, install foam gaskets, and foam or tape sealants reduces air leakage overall. Certain types of insulation densley packed into the cavities of walls can reduce heat and airflow.
The International Energy Conservation code establishes minimums for energy efficient buildings. Building energy codes at the state and local levels include minimum insulation requirements. Today’s energy efficient homes are likely not only within energy code compliance, but exceed those codes. Making new construction far more efficient than older homes.
For maximum energy efficiency, the interaction between the construction components and the insulation is considered carefully. The whole-house systems design approach is a common strategy in cost effective modern home design.
As states adopt more stringent energy codes, some builders may experience challenges meeting new mandatory air leakage requirements. Fiberglass and mineral wool insulation is a low-cost solution for homebuilders to meet or surpass code. The air leakage rate requirements of three or five air changes per hour, depending on the climate zone are customary. For homeowners, an airtight building envelope results in energy savings, decreased energy bills, and increased thermal comfort.
Discuss issues with your contractor if you have concerns that the home is adequately sealed. The five priority air sealing areas are discussed in the next section.
- Top plate to attic drywall – It is vitally important that your attic and attic access has proper air sealing. Importantly, above the sheetrock and the top plate. More than anyplace else in your home, this is the area that allows more air to enter. Higher utility bills will result if your home is not sealed correctly in both summer and winter.
- Recessed light fixtures to finished ceiling or wall – Recessed lighting fixtures that are EnergyStar rated are designed to be airtight. A professional builder seals the space between the institution and the sheetrock to guarantee air won’t come into your home.
- Duct boot to the finished surface – A significant risk for air leakage is through the ducts. Air sealing of unfinished spaces, such as the basement, attic, or crawl space above or below the open ductwork, is essential.
- Top and bottom of band joists – Your builder should have insulation installation at the home’s band joists. They must also be properly sealed. If not sealed, there is a potential for hundreds of feet of cracks to form. Many band joists are just above the home’s foundation and can lead to significant air leakage.
- Garage wall to shared exterior house wall – Drywall is generally used to finish the outer wall where air leakage typically occurs.
These simple measures help you to understand where air sealing is a priority and why air sealing is essential.
Installed Services offers many top lines of insulation products for both new and existing home installations, including blown insulation for sidewall applications.
Installed Services can insulate almost any type of home, existing or new, aluminum or vinyl siding, brick, shingle, and more!
We also insulate new homes using traditional batt insulation, blown-in fiberglass for walls and ceilings, and foam insulation. Professional installation for your protection from air infiltration.