For energy efficiency, your house (Envelope) must be tight. It must have elements of insulation and air infiltration protection that provide a barrier against the outside elements. Some of those include. 1.Dual or Triple pane windows.(or at least well sealed windows and/or storm windows; for now) 2.Correct depth of attic insulation compliant with your local codes. 3. Insulated exterior doors. 4. Proper weatherstripping and door sweeps on exterior doors. 5. Electrical outlet foam diaphragms on exterior plugs. 6. Floor insulation (under laminate or full insulation between joists – conventional floor). 7 Caulking at bottom of framing on exterior walls (just behind base) 8. Sealed can lights and A/C ducting for penetrations through the ceiling.
All the aforementioned practices brings us to a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) test using the device in the picture, the Blower Door. This devise used by licensed technician will force air out of the dwelling and test the dwellings capacity to retain pressure. A positive result will assure the resident that the home will not allow conditioned air to be released into the atmosphere. A negative result gives the occupant the option of repair or replace on a variety of components. One of the most costly and unseen culprits is the broken HVAC duct in the attic that sends heat (and money) right out the roof. Two other offenders are leaky doors and windows. Either result is actually positive considering your piece of mind knowing what must be done to achieve maximum efficiency for living comfort and expense.
Click on the Blower Door to watch the machine in action.