An Air Tight Home is Important- But Why?

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The Importance Of An Air Tight Home

For both homeowners and new home builders within the Okanagan, an air tight home is very important for a handful of reasons.

Often an overlooked component of home construction, both parties a like can fall victim to the downfalls of having a home that’s less than ideally sealed up.

New home builders sometimes forget to factor in air sealing as a much needed step in home construction, while home owners are often not aware of just how much air their home is leaking- and the associated costs.

With air tightness and leakage being an invisible phenonium, many have trouble understanding just how important these two factors really are in the world of home ownership.

So, why is an air tight home so important?

Expect To Pay More in Hydro Bills With A Leaky Home

With a properly sealed home, you can save up to 80% on your monthly BC Hydro or BC Fortis bills.

Seriously. We’ve seen cases where proper air sealing in a very leaky home landed the homeowners savings of 80% on their utilities bill compared to last billing period.

On average though, homeowners- even those in near brand new homes- see savings of 30% of their utility bills.

You can test your home’s air leakage rates and know just how much you’re losing- and where. Attics and basements are the worst routine offenders, but doors and windows follow at a close second.

The most common unit is ACH50- which stands for Air Changes Per Hour at 50 pascals, or CFM50 which stands for Cubic Foot Per Minute at 50 Pascals. The two really depends on the preference of the tester- one measures at the surface, one measures by volume.

Ideal Air Leakage Measurement for New Homes

An ideal measurement comes in at around 3 ACH50, or 25 CFM50. Anything below, and you’ve got yourself a nice tight house.

A home can never been too tight, contrary to beliefs out there that state a very tight home is unhealthy.

The places to pay careful attention to in new homes are funky transitions in the building envelope, band joists, top plates, bottom plates, and myriad other details. The simpler the building envelope, the easier it is to find and seal the air leakage sites.

Ideal Air Leakage Measurement for Used Homes

As with everything, there is debates on what your air leakage in an existing home should be.

At the end of the day, however, an existing home that hasn’t been touched by air sealing methods will more than likely fetch a much higher reading than a new home.

And this point, there isn’t an ideal number you should shoot for- instead, you should look at x% reduction in whatever score your air tightness test brings back.

Depending on how high it comes back, you can aim to reduce your air leakage anywhere from 10 – 35%.

A Leaky Home Can Cause Discomfort & Health Concerns

Moisture and draftiness can cause legitimate health concerns for you and your family.

The number one driver behind these health concerns is moisture, which is directly created by unbalanced air entering and exiting the home.

Just like your mom may have said- wrap up and avoid the draft. Otherwise, you may end up with a nasty cold!

Losing heat or gaining heat, and air conditioning alike, can cause negative pressure within the air circulation in your home and really mess with your health and comfort.

Leaky Homes Open The Door For Rodents & Insects

Unless you were looking for additional housemates, you may want to consider the ease that leaky spots in your home offer unwanted rodents and insects.

Because they’re so tiny, they can easily utilize these tiny openings to enter (and stay) in your home.

As these leaky spots are usually undetectable to the human eye, you could end up with a lot more unwanted visitors that you bargained for- and the cost of exterminators isn’t fun. As well, these little critters and bugs can bring in some very unsafe, very unhealthy diseases and droppings with them that can end up making their way into your home.

Leaky Homes Aren’t Very Sound-Proof

This goes both way- a leaky home doesn’t keep the noise from coming in, nor does it stop it from coming out.

Blasting your favorite tunes while cleaning on a Sunday morning is great- unless the entire neighborhood can hear you, even at a decent volume set.

On the other hand; noise from busy streets, airports and perhaps your loud neighbors, won’t be kept out of your home either, and your level of comfort might take a dive.

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