Everyone wants to "Go Solar". Before you go solar you need to seal up the leaks in your home and have healthy, controlled air coming into your home not leaking from a dusty attic or moist crawl space. Going solar without fixing the leaks is like having a hole in your gas tank and saying, "Oh I guess I will fill the gas tank with bio-fuel". You are still leaking gas.

Where is air leaking?
31% - Floors, walls and ceiling
15% - Ducts
14% - Fireplace
13% - Plumbing penetrations
11% - Doors
10% - Windows
4% - Fans and Vents
2% - Electric outlets

5 bullet points to think about.
  • Seal all holes in the building envelope with caulk/foam
  • Seal around all holes or penetrations going from the living space to the attic or exterior. (If remodeling include the inside wall plates, top plates, electrical openings, plumbing openings, boxes around the windows, attic hatches, HVAC closet, frames around doors)
  • Any unsealed penetration is also an invitations for insects and rodents to come in.
  • Test it!
  • See www.airbarrier.org
Builiding Performance Contractors are also available at www.cbpca.org (California Building Performance Association). For a whole house "Green" evaluation which includes air sealing check out www.builditgreen.org for a Green Point Rater.

Next blog will be on insulation and ventilation.

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Comment by Sheila Hill on May 5, 2010 at 8:13pm
Nelda, thanks for this very good advice.
Comment by Nelda H Braver on May 4, 2010 at 2:38pm
Oh, and your Solar installation will be smaller if your seal leaks and insulate first.

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