Have you ever been in a room that is generally warm and a sudden flow of cold air hits your skin and makes you feel uncomfortable? The cause of that and other issues in your home could be air leakage. So, what is air leakage?
First of all, our homes are composed of many elements, some of them are internal and some are external. External elements, such as walls, windows, roof and ground floor, form what is called the building fabric or building envelope and protect the internal spaces of our homes from the weather and contact with the ground. If the building fabric is not designed and built correctly or if some of its parts get degraded over time there could be some gaps and cracks, which will make the internal spaces vulnerable to the external elements.
Air leakage happens when uncontrolled air comes in and out through these gaps in the walls, ceiling and ground floor. This is different from the ventilation provided by windows in your house. Windows can be closed and opened when needed and the extent to which they open can also be controlled to provide a comfortable and healthy internal environment by cooling and renovating the air.
What happens when there is too much air leakage in your home? You will feel it is generally colder and you will need to use more energy to heat the rooms as warm air continually escapes through these gaps while cold air constantly enters your home. As a result, the internal air will have to be frequently re-heated to maintain a comfortable internal temperature. In dwellings with excessive air leakage, the heating system is not usually able to heat the home properly.
Have you ever noticed humid walls in your home? This is another issue that can be caused by air leakage. When the cold air enters through gaps in your home it cools the surfaces in the structure. These cold surfaces in contact with the internal warm and humid air cause condensation, which is when the water collects as droplets on a cold surface as the result of the conversion of vapor to liquid.
In hot weather, air leakage can also be a problem if you are using air conditioning to cool your home. If there are gaps in the structure, the cooled air will constantly escape from your home while warm air will constantly enter. In which case, your air conditioning system will have to continually re-cool the internal spaces and more energy will be used.
We have created the diagram below to show you the most common gaps through which air can escape or enter into your home:Have a look around your home and see if you think any air could be passing through these gaps and seal them!
By doing this you will not only have a more comfortable home but also save money on your energy bills! More than that, you will give a big contribution to the environment and reduce carbon emissions as air leakage is a major cause of wasted energy in homes.
But remember… Make sure you are ventilating your house correctly through the windows to always have nice clean air and guarantee the health and wellbeing of your family!