Why Stopping Home Air Leaks Should Be Your Top Priority this Summer

July 22, 2015 Written by  Comments Print
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It's summer in Maryland, which means two things: heat and humidity. There's no way to avoid them when you're outside, but many people also put up with heat and humidity in their own homes. And the thing is, most of them are doing so unknowingly. They turn on the air conditioning to cool the house down, so it seems like they've taken care of the effects of the heat and humidity. Right?

Wrong. While the home may be cool, that air conditioner is probably working a lot harder than it needs to and wasting a ton of energy in the process. Why? There are a couple of reasons, but above all the most significant factor is air leakage. On average, 1 out of every 3 dollars you spend on heating/cooling your home finds its way outside as a result of an air leak. And that's just the start of your problems. Air leaks can also lead to moisture problems and poor indoor air quality.

So why do air leaks occur? What problems can they cause? And most importantly, how can they be stopped? The answers are in our blog.


Why do air leaks occur?

Air leaks occur because of pressure differentials between the inside of your home and the environment outside your home. Air under high pressure will always flow to areas of low pressure. So if the pressure outside your home is greater than the pressure inside (positive pressure), air will flow into your home. If the pressure inside your home is greater than the pressure outside (negative pressure), air will flow out of your home. How does the air actually get into/out of your home? Because there are holes in the shell (also known as the building envelope) of your home. This includes everything from the hole under the door to cracks in the foundation.

What creates these pressure differentials?

There are three reasons pressure differentials occur.

  1. Differences in temperature – Warm air is lighter than cool air. So in the summer, warm air outside your home pushes down on the cool air in your home, forcing it out through holes in the building envelope. This is known as the stack effect.

  2. Wind – Wind creates both positive and negative pressures in your home at the same time. The side of the house that the wind blows on is called the windward side and has a positive pressure, which pushes air into the home. The other side of the house is called the leeward side and has a negative pressure, which sucks air out of the home.

  3. Mechanical pressures – Things like the dryer or bath and kitchen fans pull air out of your home, creating a negative pressure that sucks air in.

What problems do air leaks cause?


Air leaks bring in hot air when you want to be cool, and cool air when you want to be warm. They also bring in humidity, adding to your discomfort.

Moisture Problems

Humidity isn't just a comfort issue. Excess moisture in a home can lead to a number of problems, including condensation, mold growth and rot.

Poor Indoor Air Quality

A home with negative air pressure will suck in air from the environment around it. In the summer, this means a lot of pollen in the home. But really, that's the least of your problems. Gases that you vent from your home such as exhaust from a gas water heater can be sucked back in. Car exhaust gets sucked in from the garage. Radon gas can be pulled in from the soil through cracks in the foundation.

Wasted Energy

As we stated earlier, air leaks result in tons of wasted energy. On average 33% of the energy you pay for is wasted due to air leaks in your home, but this number could be much higher.

How can air leaks be stopped?

Stopping air leaks is more than just putting some weather stripping and caulking around the house and calling it a day. Effectively air sealing your home requires the knowledge and expertise of a professional. That's where we come in. A home energy audit from greeNEWit can find all the problem areas in your home and recommend fixes that will make your home more energy efficient, more comfortable, and safer for you and your family.

Ready to learn more? Contact us today! Call 866.994.7639.

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