At Energy Rating Perth, we have often found our client’s with a misconception that double glazing and insulation means that they have the best possible building envelope. Our energy assessors when conducting a 6 Star Energy Rating for their home often advise to ensure they check for hidden factors like air infiltration inside their homes.
Infiltration is the unwanted entry of air into the building envelope due to leakages/improper sealing of the envelope at openings such as window/door frames, recessed down-lights, vents, weep holes or the porosity of the building materials being used. Due to these leakages in winter conditioned warm internal air escapes from the building and cold, external air seeps in. While in summer the cooler internal air is replaced with the hot air from outside as these gaps in the building envelope allow heat exchange. For efficient thermal performance of a building, these leakages must be avoided by ensuring the building is sealed correctly.
When a building is being constructed, the seals and caulks used in all of these air gaps must be of optimum quality and installed properly by a professional. However, if there is still air infiltration despite this or the building is an old one, and then the first step to correcting this would be to test the house for air tightness. A professional technician can do this but a DIY in this case is not that difficult. The foremost job is to make the house airtight by ensuring all obvious gaps are sealed such as all major opening, vents, chimneys, down lights, exhaust fans, large visible cracks etc. The second step is to depressurise the home on a windy day and create a draught between the outside and inside. Then by lighting an incense stick and passing it around edges of all suspected areas of leakage, wherever the smoke is blown back inside, there is an air leakage. Another method is using thermal imaging; a camera that displays heat sources as bright colours is an otherwise monotone imagery. Using this camera on the exterior of the building on a cold day (hot day in summers) and point it to common places of leakage and see if any heat is escaping the building from those gaps.
Air leakages account for a significant amount of loss of heat or coolness in an interior space. At Energy Rating Perth, a lot of our clients think air infiltration is from large openings like doors and windows. But it has been proven that it is primarily due to the small cracks and gaps they usually overlook. Our energy assessors at Energy Rating Perth urge clients to ensure that their home is not subject to this and offer advice on how to eradicate it if such is the case. You can read further about the correction of air infiltration on our Energy Rating Perth website or for more information contact our energy assessors at Energy Rating Perth!