Q: Where do homes leak air?

A: In 2008, we studied how to build homes better at the Probuild University in Boulder, Colorado. The course work focused on how to get homes to perform better.

Building scientists study how homes perform. Air leakage is an important area to improve for optimizing a home’s performance. Based on their findings here is where air leaks in homes: Doors account for 1%, pipe and wire penetrations 3%, electrical outlets 13%, window framing 11%, ceiling to wall 27% and wall to first floor 45%.

When we learned this we were instantly humbled. We thought the obvious—doors, windows, outlets were the culprits. We had no idea that 72% of a home’s air leakage occurs at the top and bottom of wall structures. I’ll bet you didn’t either.

Have you ever seen dirty carpet around the edges of a first floor where the carpet meets the base trim mouldings? Some might think that a vacuum just doesn’t reach the edges so good. It’s not the vacuum. This is a clue to air leakage. In fact, almost half of all of a home’s air leakage occurs on what we call the bottom plate. That is where wood material meets the foundation stem wall.

Did you know where your trusses sit on the walls is called the top plate? Over a quarter of a home’s air leakage occurs at the top plate.

Our job as a builder is to minimize air leakage. Learning where air leaks occur and how to stop them has been invaluable. We take great pride in paying attention to details that matter. Air loss is at the top of our list.

I would think that if you were to buy a boat you would want to check to see if it leaks. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to check for a home’s air loss?

Next week we will show you how we are minimizing air leakage in our homes.

Build well and enjoy life.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girod on 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am. See you next week!