Maggie Leslie: Air Sealing Checklist

Air Sealing Checklist

Maggie Leslie

Air sealing is a crucial part of building a healthy, energy efficient home. Below is a checklist of items to make sure to seal when building or renovating a conventional stick frame home. A leaky home will decrease the r-value of your insulation effectiveness, create unwanted drafts and comfort issues, plus bring moisture and pollutants into a home. “Seal it tight and insulate it right”!

■ Seal around windows and exterior doors with backer rod, caulk, or non-expanding spray foam.

■ Seal all electrical, plumbing and HVAC penetrations between conditioned and unconditioned space with caulk or spray foam.

■ Seal the bottom plate and the top plate of exterior walls and walls to the attic with caulk or sill seal.

■ Seal band joists with caulk, spray foam, or gasketing between top plate and band joist and between band joist and sub-floor. Any penetrations in the band joist must be sealed with caulk or spray foam. Any joists or other cavities that span from conditioned to unconditioned spaces must be blocked off and air sealed.

■ Block, cap, and seal any chase ways that would allow unconditioned air to enter into the conditioned building envelope.

■ Exterior walls behind tub and shower enclosures should be insulated. Prior to installing the tub or shower, a rigid and durable air barrier should be installed to be in direct contact with the insulation.

■ Install insulation wind baffles to block wind washing at all attic eave bays in roof assemblies with soffit vents.

■ For cantilevered floor systems or floors above a garage an air barrier must block any exposed edges of insulation.

■ For fireplace cavities on exterior walls, a rigid air barrier must be fully aligned with the insulated framing in the framed shaft behind the fireplace and any gaps are fully sealed with foam, caulk or tape.

■ For porch roofs, a rigid air barrier must be installed at the intersection of the porch roof and exterior wall.

■ For dropped ceilings, a rigid air barrier must be fully aligned with insulated framing and any gaps are fully sealed with caulk or foam.

■ Recessed light fixtures, if installed in insulated cavities such as the ceiling between the house and the attic, should be rated IC (Insulation Contact) AND air-tight. Once installed they should be sealed to the drywall with gasket, caulk or foam.

■ All holes or penetrations in the building envelope shall be sealed with a material capable of stopping airflow such as caulk, foam or rigid material. Fibrous insulation does not stop air- flow.

You can also view this article as it was originally published on page 63 of the 2014 edition of the directory or as a pdf.