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Air Sealing Where it Counts

The graph below shows which structural air-leaks that create problems when performing the blower door testing. Knowing where to go first allows you to maximize efforts toward reinforcing your home's building envelope tightness.

With code envelope testing starting to take hold in the smaller communities traditional building methods are starting to show their flaws. HVAC companies have made great progress in duct system leakage. I routinely am seeing systems in the 1% leakage range. If I do see over 4% it usually is something major, like disconnected duct or as in a test this week the access cover on the air handler in the attic was removed and I didn't notice it. Performing duct test at the rough stage is getting more common.

Sealing the top plate/gypsum wall is the next location that appears to be leaking enough to jeopardize the blower door test. Installing a gasket material works but has an installation cost and is routinely damaged during wallboard installation. I have had good luck in just increasing the top plate nailing pattern, it does a good job in reducing the air leakage in between the materials.

I'd like to collect information on other methods that have worked in the field.

 

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