Save Energy — Infiltration

Your home is far from airtight. Air is able to pass through your windows, doors, walls, ceiling, floor and other areas. Whether its summer or winter, this air is either too hot or too cold. You pay for energy to cool or warm this air. A significant contribution of your heating and cooling goes to treating infiltration. If your home is old and has large cracks, then your cost of energy can be quite high.

Your Home Energy Living Plan

  • Seal cracks and replace weatherstripping around windows and doors.
  • Seal or insulate around lights recessed into the ceiling.
  • Seal around electrical receptacles (outlets) in exterior walls.
  • Seal around whole house fan framing and insure damper closes tightly.
  • Close fireplace damper when not in use.

Impact of Your Energy Saving Actions

Infiltration can account for about 28% of your heating and 16% of your cooling. Since heating and cooling is about half of your utility bill, then reducing infiltration can have a big impact.

How Energy is Lost

Air that naturally moves in or out of your home is called air infiltration (or infiltration). It can flow through small openings in the home’s exterior components. Generally this is unwanted airflow due to gaps in construction materials which occur originally when the home is built or opens over time due to movement. Houses cannot be built totally airtight and be maintained that way over time.

Outside air can enter your home or inside air can leave your home. Only slight differences in pressure can push air through a crack. Wind blowing on your home can cause the outside air to come into your home. If severe enough, this can be felt if your near the opening. In the winter, this air is cold enough to create drafts within your home. The typical reaction is to turn up the heat. In the summer, this air can bring moisture into your home. Higher moisture can cause your air conditioner to work harder without lowering the temperature.

But this is only part of the story. The amount of air in your home stays the same. So if outside air is coming in, then indoor air must be leaving. The air leaves on the leeward side of your house. It is usually not as noticeable as the air entering on the windward side. When your heating/air conditioning unit it running, conditioned air can be push out through cracks.

Energy Solutions Explained

Nowhere can so little result in so much. Air can leak from the obvious places like windows and doors. But there can be leakage around the foundation, fireplace, electrical receptacles in exterior walls, ceiling recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations, and more. See individual sections for more information.

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