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Building Envelope Air Sealing

We Offer Building Envelope Air Sealing Services. These include residential retrofit air sealing and air sealing for new construction compliance with the Washington Residential Energy Code.   

Air Sealing - Retrofit

Air seal you home for more comfort and energy savings.

Air sealing is often the least expensive and most effective way to improve the energy performance of your existing home or structure.

Virtually all homes and built structures leak air in and out.  Regardless of the age, size, quality, or condition of the structure, it’s a safe bet there is some amount of unwanted air leakage.  Uncontrolled air leaks allow air you’ve already paid to heat or cool to be lost to the outside.  This makes the built structure less comfortable and energy efficient. 

For the typical older existing home in the US, the amount of loss from uncontrolled air leakage to the outdoors can be up to 30-40% of the home’s total energy use.  That can add up to a substantial amount of money out of a family’s budget.  Even newer homes often leak more air than they should, despite stricter energy codes and better building practices.  In fact, for modern homes built with super insulation, high performance windows, and energy efficient appliances, uncontrolled leakage to the outside can represent an even higher percentage of the home’s overall energy usage. 

Sealing air leaks in all homes and built structures is a cost effective thing to do.  Air sealing will pay for itself, particularly since more and more utilities now recognize the benefits of air sealing offer air sealing rebates.  

A visual inspection coupled with a blower door test will reveal where your home is losing air to the outside.  Our building scientist pinpoints locations in the building envelope where – with the proper sealing – your home could do a better job of retaining energy.  

Air sealing goes hand and hand with assuring your structure has the right amount of fresh air ventilation from healthy sources.  Don’t assume the haphazard leakage in and out of a typical house is adequate ventilation.  With the blower door, we can tell if the air escaping through cracks in the building envelope is being replaced with air coming from undesirable sources such as basements, garages, and crawl spaces. Sealing these leaks improves indoor air quality. 

Once we identify the specific locations where your structure allows air infiltration, we take measures to seal up the cracks and assure that good air quality in the structure is maintained.  We do this with a series of professional grade products that we use for just the right application.  Our expert technicians know when and where to install high expanding and low expanding foams, open cell and closed cell foams, and insulating foam board into the nooks and crannies of your structure – using techniques to reduce air leakage without compromising the structure’s durability, integrity, and beauty. 

After air sealing, we use the blower door to re-evaluate the number of times per hour the structure exchanges air with the outside.  We also test the safety of any combustion appliance zones.  It is sometimes appropriate to add new sources of fresh air ventilation to assure air quality remains safe and fresh.  These sources of ventilation can be passive, such as vented windows, or mechanical, such as bathroom fans, whole house ventilation fans, or heat recovery ventilation fans.  

Check out these air sealing videos from the University of Washington Energy Program:

 

Air Sealing - New Construction 
Residential Energy Code

Under the new Washington State Energy Code, all new construction and additions over 750 square feet must meet minimum building air leakage standards.  To this end, the code establishes a Building Air Leakage Testing requirement. 

All new construction and additions over 750 square feet need to have a blower door test done and the resulting air leakage should be less than 0.00030 Specific Leakage Area (SLA) when tested at 50 Pascals (0.2 inch w.g.) of depressurization.

Testing can be done any time after rough in and after installation of penetrations of the building envelope, including penetrations for utilities, plumbing, electrical, ventilation and combustion appliances (and sealing of these penetrations) have been completed. Building officials can request that the test be conducted while building department staff is present.

If you are a residential remodeler or builder, call on us to perform this testing for you and to help you coordinate with local governmental agencies.  We are pleased to offer package rates to builders with multiple properties. 

Learn more about the Importance of Air Sealing and our HVAC Ductwork services.