Air Sealing With AeroBarrier
by Ross MacPherson, New England Air Barrier
The things we put in our bodies have a huge impact on our health, happiness, and wellbeing. We spend a lot of time, energy and money making sure that the food and water we ingest are safe. Many of us buy foods that are organic, Non GMO, or grass fed; we are willing to pay a premium for things that are better for us. One thing that is conspicuously absent from mind is the air we breathe – we do it all day, every day. The average person spends 87% of their life indoors and will take over 20,000 breaths per day. We need to think seriously about the quality of the indoor air we breathe.
Air sealing is only the first part of the process to better indoor air quality. By properly separating the indoors from the outdoors we can begin to control the contents and quality of the air through ventilation, filtration, and moisture management. Without the initial separation, these systems can’t function properly, or at all. While air sealing isn’t a visible part of the home, it’s health importance should not be underestimated.
Moving beyond indoor air quality, a tighter building envelope will reduce the heating and cooling needs of the home. These reduced loads mean that smaller systems can maintain indoor comfort with fewer upfront costs and operating expenses. The utility savings over the life span of the equipment can be significant. Utility sponsored programs now incentivize homeowners and builders in both existing homes and new construction to do a better job of air sealing a home, tying incentive dollars directly to the air sealing performance of the home.
AeroBarrier has recently emerged as a cost effective method to air seal an entire house using an aerosolized water based sealant to seal gaps from ½” down to the width of a human hair. Often the leaks in a building are not easily seen or readily accessible for traditional air sealing products or methods. Spray heads are placed inside the building where the water based sealant is mixed with compressed air to create a fog of tiny sealant particles suspended in the air. The entire building is then pressurized, forcing the sealant particles to the leaks in the building shell. Once the sealant impacts the edge of the leak, the sealant sticks and builds up on itself ultimately sealing the leak. The sealant does not sick to walls or ceilings in its suspended form, the velocity and impact of the sealant particles escaping the building shell is required for adhesion; in effect this product can be applied at almost any stage of construction.
The entire process is computer controlled and the leakage rates are sampled every 60 seconds producing a measured and verifiable result. The sealant material is certified as Greenguard Gold for ultra-low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) making it appropriate for installation in schools and hospitals. There is no chemical reaction taking place on site, the inert sealant is aerosolized using compressed air instead of a chemical propellant. This means that once the process is complete, work can resume immediately without the use of respirators; there is no off gassing after the application of spray foam. Most houses can be sealed in a single day, minimizing schedule impacts.
Want to learn more about AeroBarrier? Visit neairbarrier.com today or call New England Air Barrier at 1-800-916-5895.