Just as new home construction has issues that are often overlooked, existing homes also can suffer because of a lack of a home owner's manual or a single resource ensuring your entire home performs as a complete system. You'd be surprised - some of these issues are more common than you may think. The primary cause: three key elements that oftentimes do not work together.
Insulation, Ventilation, AND Air Sealing All Work Together!
Here are six examples of common mistakes that showcase why insulation, ventilation, and air sealing must all work together:
- A common mistake we see is in the attic of the home where additional insulation and ventilation is installed, but air sealing is not part of the job. Without this three-part combination taken into consideration, homeowners may experience a higher energy bill and may cause your roof to rot prematurely. When ventilation is increased, it allows more airflow from the house and increases the heat loss. The air goes more moisture to the attic where it condenses on the now colder roof. This result is due to not knowing how the entire system works together.
- Another common mistake is homes that add air sealing in an un-insulated house. This can cause moisture problems by raising the relative humidity without warming up the surfaces. Air sealing without attention to ventilation can do the same thing.
- Air sealing in buildings that contain combustion equipment, such as water heaters and furnaces, can cause these items to fail. When a building is sealed up without looking at the combustion equipment risk sooner than later harming someone with flue gas. Insulation of ventilation equipment can do the same thing.
- If a working chimney is retired, the ventilation device has been removed. Most heating contractors do not think of this because they are only looking at heating. If a basement is air sealed, combustion air has been removed - again most shell contractors don't think of this either. If a clothes dryer is installed in a combustion zone, a safety hazard may have been created. Most appliance installers don't think of this either.
- Indoor air quality problems are source problems but are not always treated that way. The guiding principle of "eliminate, separate, ventilate" is often ignored and ventilation is automatically chosen.
- Problems in homes are sometimes treated with no consideration for the people who live there. Human activity is a powerful influence on building performance, yet some building professionals routinely do their work without ever asking what the people do. This time, it is the human part of the system that is ignored or misunderstood. If a world-class ventilation system is installed and the occupants shut it off because they don't understand why it should run, it's worthless.
Bottom line is that these three key components - insulation, ventilation and air sealing - are all key ingredients to having your home's complete system work together. If any of these six issues sound familiar, or you are concerned they may be a factor in your home, please contact us today. We'd love to help you!