Your Home’s Envelope Benefits Year-Round with Sealing and Insulation

Posted on: July 16, 2014

home-insulation-300x200Air leaks and heat exchange through the envelope of the typical home pose several comfort and efficiency issues. If comfort could be improved in your Triangle-area home, and if lower energy bills would be nice, too, read on to see how sealing and insulation can help with these concerns, and more.

Why Seal and Insulate?

Sealing and insulation may be more commonly identified with bundling up the home, like zipping up a coat, keeping cozy and warm with lower heating bills during the cold weather months. Sealing and insulating the home’s envelope, moreover, helps keep cooling bills under control and makes it easier to manage humidity no matter the season.

Nice Energy Savings

Air leaks and insulation deficiencies pose such expensive and incessant home efficiency issues due to air pressure differences of the living spaces and unconditioned spaces, and the fact that heat energy always seeks a cooler place. This fact of heat movement works against energy budgets during both the cooling and heating months.

  • During the cooling months, warmer outside air seeks the cooler conditioned air inside the home and exploits any air leaks in the home envelope.
  • During the heating months, heated indoor air seeks to transfer to cooler air outside the envelope through leaks around windows, doors, walls and the attic hatch.
  • Air pressure differences help advance air exchange too. Just open an exterior or garage door and feel the rush of wasted energy dollars.

Heat energy gain/loss by conduction occurs through poorly insulated areas, including older windows with low R-values (resistance to heat). The attic is always a potential trouble area, especially if ventilation is lacking. Extreme seasonal temperatures succeed in exploiting all deficiencies between the ceiling and attic space.

Less HVAC System Wear

Does your A/C work overtime trying to keep up with summer heat and humidity? Does the furnace frequently cycle on and off trying to keep up with the heating load? Sealing and insulation reduces the heating/cooling load of the home, and, therefore, reduces the amount of time the cooling and heating systems must operate to keep the home comfortable. Less system wear means fewer repairs.

Better Indoor Air Quality

Sealing air leaks helps maintain more healthful indoor air. Do you know what’s lurking in the air in your attic, basement and garage?

  • Air exchange between the attic, walls and the basement or crawl spaces can introduce unwanted contaminants inside the home, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in building materials, vermin waste, insulation fibers and carbon monoxide from combustion appliances.
  • If your home has an attached garage, indoor air may become contaminated with auto emissions, chemicals and solvents.
  • Many of these contaminants are irritants for asthma and allergy sufferers. Outside allergens are also introduced inside the home through air leaks.
  • Contaminants inside the walls, attic, basement and crawl spaces typically harbor several contaminants that you would rather not have circulating inside your living room and bedrooms. Vermin waste, moisture issues, and VOCs seeping from the building structure may be present, and dust and insulation fibers may be floating around.
  • Indoor humidity is an element of air quality and comfort. Air sealing helps block unwanted moisture exchange when the summer air is quite humid and the winter air is uncomfortably dry.

Maximize Home Comfort

Some of the more common comfort issues in a home are drafts, uneven temperatures and the movement of heat between floors (e.g. warmer air rising to upstairs rooms). While there are dozens of contributing factors for comfort issues, airflow and the movement of heat energy, air leaks and insulation deficiencies in the home envelope are major factors to home discomforts.

Air leaks and insulation issues exist around the clock, and any measures taken to counter discomforts, such as turning up the A/C or using portable heaters and wool socks, are only temporary, expensive and don’t fix the problems of heat gain/loss.

Getting Started

Fortunately, a practical solution exists for boosting comfort, efficiency, indoor air quality and system performance. Sealing and insulation, for best results, are best performed by an HVAC contractor. Sophisticated equipment and testing are required to locate air leaks and insulation deficiencies, which many may exist in inaccessible areas.

Your HVAC pro should thoroughly explain the results of heat gain/loss testing and the process for sealing identified air leaks so you may make an intelligent decision how to proceed, if needed, with sealing and insulation.

If you would like an inspection for sealing and insulation in your Raleigh area home, please contact Air Experts today.

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