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Airtight Homes and Ventilation Needs: It’s a Delicate Balance

Posted on June 3, 2014

You want your home to be effectively sealed so cold air doesn’t creep in during the winter while hot, humid air doesn’t infiltrate your home in the summer, and you also want to block out dust and allergens. However, you also need ventilation to ensure the air in your home is fresh and healthy.  Having a home that’s airtight and has the proper ventilation requires a delicate balance, but it is possible and the benefits include:

When trying to achieve the right balance between ventilation and sealing, keep in mind you can’t seal your house too tightly. The more airtight your home is, the easier it is to control ventilation.

In many homes, ventilation is unintentionally provided through air leaks, but these aren’t controlled, so you often lose a large percentage of your heating and cooling energy as well. To make sure your home is as airtight as possible:

  • Seal large leaks in your attic, which are usually located in partition walls, chimneys, and dropped soffits.
  • Insulate your attic with a dense blown-insulation, such as cellulose insulation.
  • Seal wall penetrations, such as where cable and other utility lines enter your home with fire-rated caulk.
  • Install weatherstripping around doors and windows to seal the gap between frames and walls.

Once your home is sealed, use an active ventilation system to provide controlled fresh air. In an active ventilation system, fresh air enters your home through an intake vent, is distributed through ducts to living and sleeping areas, and stale, contaminated air is drawn out through a separate exhaust vent. Exhaust vents are typically located in kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms, and help maintain the pressure balance in your home.

Contact the experts at Comfort Systems for more tips and ways to achieve the balance between sealing and ventilation in your Wichita, Kansas-area home.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about ventilation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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