What is the difference between ventilation and air leaks?

March 5th 2003
What is the difference between ventilation and air leaks?

While some homeowners believe that air leaks allow fresh air to enter the house, they don't realize that the consequences of air leaks are often negative. Air leaks are a sign of a poorly sealed or degrading house. In cold, windy weather, too much air could be drawn into the house, causing high energy bills, cold spots, drafts and moisture damage. In spring and fall, with changes in wind and air pressure, not enough fresh air would be supplied. In other words, air leaks are uncontrolled. The solution?

Control your airflow.

Controlling airflow involves three aspects:

Preventing uncontrolled air leaks
Providing for air exchange (supplying fresh air and removing stale and/or polluted air)
Providing draft and combustion air for fuel-burning appliances

It's important to remember that your house works as a system. Keeping your home airtight is one part of the system. Airtightness combined with proper ventilation leads to greater energy and dollar savings, improved comfort and protection from moisture damage.

What is ventilation?
A proper ventilation system exhausts stale air, supplies and distributes fresh air throughout the house and can be controlled. Today the National Building Code of Canada requires that new homes ventilate one third of an air change per hour. This means that one third of the total volume of air in the home is replaced by outside air every hour. How does your home compare?

An EnerGuide for Houses evaluation will show you how well your home measures up. By conducting a "blower door" test, the EnerGuide for Houses advisor will show you where and how to seal your air leaks, analyse your ventilation system and recommend ways for you to save money, be more energy efficient and live in a healthier home!

Find out how you can get an EnerGuide for Houses evaluation. Call 1-800-387-2000 today!

This information was gleaned from the website of The Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE), a part of Natural Resources Canada.