Air Tightness Testing - Service Pending
• Measure the amount of air leaks in your home using our specialised blower door equipment in accordance with I.S. EN 13829:2000
• Show you where the leaks occur using smoke detectors
and thermal imaging camera
• Issue a full report of the test
• After leaks are sealed we will re-test to show the improved air tightness in the building*
Up to 50% of home heat is lost through air leaks
Many buildings are termed ‘leaky’ where air enters through
holes and gaps in the building fabric. This can account for up to half of the building’s total heat loss. Source: S.E.A.I.
Disadvantages to having a ‘leaky’ home
• Higher Heating Bills means less money for you
• Draughty homes means less comfort
• Reduction in insulation performance
• Development of moulds
• Wood rot
• Higher C02 emissions
• Increased noise pollution
• Excessive external odours
• BER energy rating may be understated
Research shows that up to half of all heat loss in buildings can be due to air leakage and uncontrolled ventilation. Insulation levels have increased substantially over the last few decades, but heated air is still escaping and can be pinpointed as a major source of energy loss.
We need to act now to reduce our energy consumption; around 50% of carbon emissions are from the built environment with approximately 50% of this energy used for space heating and cooling. The climates of Ireland and the UK do not suffer from extremes in low temperatures, but are exposed to extremes in wind pressure. While insulation is central to low energy construction, air and wind tightness must also be central to an energy efficient design strategy to reduce unnecessary heat loss.
More central to all this is living healthily and comfortably. Heat that escapes from buildings carries a significant amount of moisture. This can lead to damage to buildings and building materials, and may have a severe effect on the air quality of the living space. This is why pro clima develop a range of Intelligent diffusion open air tightness solutions to reduce the risk of condensation within structural elements and encourage vapour diffusion.
Nearly half of all heat lost through a building can be attributed to air leaks. In a Passive House cold air entering the home for ventilation purposes is warmed by way of a Heat Recovery ventilation unit. However, there is no need to go to such extremes for the vast majority of homes built in Ireland. Significant energy saving can be made through sealing areas of uncontrolled ventilation in the average home.
In order to quantify and identify these air leaks in building it is necessary to employ qualified and certified building air tightness testing professionals. They will come to your home do a quick survey and place an apparatus called a Blower Door in one of your door openings. Leaks can be detected either by hand or by using air sensors which emit a type of smoke that can make air currents visible.
This air leak detection equipment can also be used to quantify the amount air lost through the building fabric. The most widely used method of quantifying the volume of air loss is commonly referred as the Blower Door Test.
1. Suspended floors (timber and concrete beam and block): Gaps between floorboards or concrete blocks around the perimeter of the dwelling/junction between floor and walls. Large gaps left around services that penetrate through the floor (eg soil vent pipes).
2 Gaps left between floorboards or blocks and also gaps around services (e.g. pipes and cables).
3 Window/door components:
Windows and doors that do not close tightly resulting in large air leakage paths.
4 Joists that penetrate into wall construction:
- Masonry walls: Gaps left around joists that penetrate into the inner leaf of external walls. Air leakage from the cavity into the upper floor void leaking into the dwelling through gaps between flooring and through any penetrations in the ceilings, e.g. recessed lights and ceiling light roses.
- Timber frame construction: Gaps left around joists, where they penetrate through the air barrier, allowing air leakage into the dwelling through penetrations in the walls and ceilings.
5 Window sills and reveals:
- Air can leak directly to the outside or into the cavity through gaps between the window frame and wall reveals.:
- Gaps around window casements (component air leakage).
- Gaps between doors and frames.
- Gap at bottom of door across threshold.
6 Gaps between dry lining and ceilings:
- Gaps and insufficient sealing at the wall to ceiling junction allowing air to leak into, and out of, the unheated loft void.
7 Internal partition walls:
- Air leakage can occur through internal partitions if the detailing or location of the air barrier leaves a pathway between indoors and outdoors. Gaps in the air barrier allowing air into the partition which then leaks through penetrations such as light switches and power sockets.
8 Loft hatches:
Loft hatches that do not fit properly (prefabricated loft hatches can become twisted as they are installed)
Inadequate seals between the hatch and the frame. (Note: condensation can be an issue if the loft hatch does not fit – warm moist air from the dwelling rises into the loft and condenses on cold surfaces, such as roof timbers and roof underlay )
9 Ceiling roses and recessed ceiling lights:
- Holes made through the upper ceiling for lights creating air leakage paths into the loft space.
10 Gaps around soil and vent pipes and flue stacks:
- Gaps in ceilings around soil vent pipes and passive flue stacks allowing air leakage paths.
11 Gaps around extractor fans and cooker hoods:
- Poorly fitted extractor fans and cooker hoods allowing air leakage through gaps left between the wall and the ventilation duct.
12 Gaps around service pipes (these gaps can often provide the largest air leakage paths in dwellings):
- Gaps left around service pipes, cables and ducts that pass through the dwelling’s external fabric can be a major contributor to poor airtightness.
- Large holes often created for much smaller diameter pipes to pass through.
- Gaps and holes around service penetrations often hidden from view behind baths, vanity units and kitchen units.
- Cuts and holes in vapour control membranes (used as air barrier for framed construction) made to accommodate pipes, cables and ducts as they penetrate through the dwelling’s external walls resulting in large air leakage rates.
13 General air leakage through walls:
- Gaps in mortar joints (or in some cases missing mortar joints) between concrete blocks on the inner leaf allowing significant air leakage from the cavity
14 Gaps between walls and solid ground floors:
- Gaps left between the sole plate of a frame and the ground slab due to undulations in the concrete surface.