Sealed Homes

Sealed homes – in the past few decades, builders and homeowners have become aware of energy loss in buildings. We have worked to seal homes to prevent drafts and ultimately energy loss. This is of course a good thing for our energy bills and the environment. It brings in some interesting other factors that professionals have been investigating – the link between health and building science. While excess gaps, cracks, and uninsulated walls should be addressed for energy loss – it is not desirable to completely seal a home.

Indoor air pollution comes from many factors including natural gasses like radon, building materials like carpeting and paint that may put off VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and excess moisture which leads to growth of fungi, or dust mites. Homes should be sealed for energy loss, but considerations should be made for indoor air quality. It is best for personal health to allow indoor air pollutants to dissipate into the atmosphere and fresh air to come into the home.

These two factors may seem to be at odds; however, they are only competing if builders or homeowners go to great lengths to fully seal their home. No matter how well you think your walls are sealed, there is diffusion through walls, which is good for maintaining balance. As a world, we are working to better protect homes from energy loss. Apart from specialty homes, custom-builds, or improvements made later in the home’s lifetime – the vast majority of these efforts are not sealing a home fully, which is good for indoor air quality. As long as we remember that our homes need to remove ‘used’ air and bring in fresh outdoor air, even in small quantities, we do a service to our own health. This doesn’t mean breaking a hole in your wall, it just means we shouldn’t go to great lengths to completely stop air transfer.

Too long, didn’t read version: Get fresh air in your home for your health and the building’s health.

-Marshall Tramp, CPI, RMP

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Marshall Tramp, CPI, RMP
Author: Marshall Tramp, CPI, RMP
Top Notch Inspection Services llc
Serving Eastern Washington & Northern Idaho