If you are looking into home insulation, you may have run into articles about your home being too airtight. You may have heard that a house needs to breathe. If you’ve listened to either of these things, I’d like to refer you to one of my favorite quotes by Abraham Lincoln, “You can’t believe everything that you read on the internet.”
The Truth Behind the Phrase “My House Needs to Breathe”
While it is true that good indoor air quality requires fresh outdoor air, letting your home decide where you get that air instead of you making that decision is not the way to go about things. The truth is that your home doesn’t “breathe.” It leaks air. It leaks air out, and it leaks air in. That means when people say their house “breathes,” they are unknowingly saying that their house is wasting energy. There are cracks and poorly insulated areas of their home that allow outside allergens and temperatures to freely move from the exterior of their home to the interior of their home, and vice versa with the expensive air they are paying to heat and cool.
An Airtight Home Saves Energy
Why is sealing your home important? What would you say if you knew that ⅓ of the energy you pay for is potentially leaking out of your house? Consider this, “Next to rain, air leaks through walls, roofs, and floors can have the biggest effect on the durability of a house.” If your home is leaking air, you are leaking money, and there is a possibility that your home’s structure is being compromised. Air leaks can lead to high energy bills, poor indoor air quality, and even unwanted moisture problems. (To read more about air leaks, check out these two blog posts: RetroFoam Injection Foam: The Windbreaker Your Home Never Knew It Needed & Signed, Sealed, And Delivered: Creating An Air-Sealed Envelope For Your Home)
So if good indoor air quality requires fresh outdoor air, but we don’t want the air coming in on its own accord, what do we do? A home does not consist of many separate parts working individually. Instead, it is a system. Adopt the motto, “Build Tight! Ventilate Right!” A home needs an airtight seal AND to be properly ventilated. RetroFoam is here to help you with the “build tight” portion of that motto.
Know Where Your Home is Leaking Air With a Blower Door Test
Where do we start? We start with a home blower door test. Our crews are certified to perform these tests by the Building Performance Institute. The blower door test involves mounting a powerful fan to the doorframe of an exterior door. How does a blower door test work? According to energy.gov, “After calibrating the device, the fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed gaps, cracks, and openings such as gaps, cracks, or wiring penetrations.” Our crew will be looking for areas where your home is leaking air. They will be able to calculate your home’s Air Changes Per Hour (ACH). Your home’s ACH is “the number of times, per hour, that enough air enters/exits your home to fill the volume of it.”
After determining your home’s needs, they can get it on its way to becoming sealed tight and energy-efficient. The RetroFoam of the Carolinas crew performs blower tests before and after insulating your home. We recommend that you work with your HVAC contractor to ensure that the fresh air your home needs is being brought in through proper ventilation. With your home properly ventilated and sealed, you are the one determining where your air is coming from, not your leaky house.
Make Your Home Energy-Efficient
In summary, a home can’t be too airtight. Adding an airtight seal solves many problems in a home that leaks air. If poor air quality exists inside a home with an airtight seal, the problem isn’t with the seal; it is with the ventilation. Once a house is properly ventilated, the airtight seal and ventilation systems work together to provide a comfortable, energy-efficient home free of unwanted pollutants and moisture.
Contact one of our foam experts today to see how RetroFoam of the Carolinas can get you on your way to an energy-efficient home.