Air leakage, or infiltration, occurs when outside air enters a house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. Properly air sealing such cracks and openings in your home can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs, improve building durability, and create a healthier indoor environment.
It is unwise to rely on air leakage for ventilation because it can’t be controlled. During cold or windy weather, too much air may enter the house. When it’s warmer and less windy, not enough air may enter. Air infiltration also can contribute to problems with moisture control. Moldy and dusty air can enter a leaky house through such areas as attics or foundations. This air in the house could cause health problems.
The recommended strategy in both new and old homes is to reduce air leakage as much as possible and to provide controlled ventilation as needed.
Plug the leaks and keep the heat
Heating a house pressurizes the inside air and drives it through ceiling penetrations into the attic, which in turn draws in cold replacement air from outside. Simply plugging the air leaks into the attic eliminates problems such as drafts, ice damming and condensation. Effectively insulating ceilings and walls completes the thermal envelope, the boundary between inside and outside air.