Air infiltration is one of the main reasons for HVAC energy consumption

What you need to know

window air infiltrationUnintentional introduction of outside air into a building, typically through cracks in the building envelope and through use of doors for passage and windows also called air leakage are one of the main reasons why your energy bill is sky high. The leakage of room air out of a building, intentionally or not caused by the air flow creates a negative pressurization of the building, such event cause you HVC to work on overdrive causing triple digits on your electric bill!

Because infiltration is uncontrolled, and admits unconditioned air, it is generally considered undesirable except for ventilation air purposes. Typically, infiltration is minimized to reduce dust, to increase thermal comfort, and to decrease energy consumption. For all buildings, infiltration can be reduced via sealing cracks in a building’s envelope, and for new construction or major renovations, by installing continuous air retarders. In buildings where forced ventilation is provided, their HVAC designers typically choose to slightly pressurize the buildings by admitting more outside air than exhausting so that infiltration is dramatically reduced.

In typical modern U.S. residences, about one-third of the HVAC energy consumption is due to infiltration. Another third is to ground-contact, and the remainder is to heat losses and gains through windows, walls, and other thermal loads. As such, reducing infiltration can yield significant energy savings, with rapid payback. In cold climates, with a 15 MPH wind, residences often have high air exchange rates, far in excess of the ventilation air needs and are thus called loose construction. It is very easy to reduce infiltration, and below you will learn things you can start doing today!

What you can do right now is determine where your air infiltration issues are. Smoke candles and blower-door tests can help identify less-than-obvious leaks. Below you will learn methods and about products that will save energy and help you air and cooling system work more efficiently.

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