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March 7, 2017 - Building Components

Understanding Air Leakage Requirements, How to Meet Them

As outlined in Energy.gov, significant potential exists for improving home energy efficiency. From reducing electricity usage and air leakage, energy efficiency is arguably more important now than ever, with tax credits, rebates and other governmental incentives to promote conservation.

Another recent initiative for manufacturers in particular includes the International Energy Conservation Code’s (IECC) new air leakage requirements. Let’s take a closer look at what causes air leakage, what these changes are and how they can be met.

Air Leakage

Air leakage occurs when outside air unintentionally infiltrates the home. It causes the home’s heating or cooling systems to operate less efficiently, rising energy costs. Air leakage typically occurs through:

  • Cracks in the building envelope
  • Doors and windows

This infiltration also happens:

  • When warm air moves upward in a home
  • When wind pulls air out of the home
  • Via mechanical equipment, like range hoods and bathroom fans

In addition to rendering a home’s heating or cooling systems inefficient, air leakage can trigger moisture and mold to develop inside the home’s walls. This causes costly home damage and has negative health impacts on inhabitants.

New Air Leakage Requirements

While sealing building envelopes isn’t a new requirement, the IECC now demands construction projects are both visually inspected and pressure tested.

Additionally, these new requirements include a comprehensive list of components that must be sealed and inspected in accordance with IECC standards. This list features common air sealing trouble spots, such as:

  • Doors
  • Windows

air leakage

How New Air Leakage Requirements Can be Met

In response to these air leakage requirements, door and window manufacturers especially are ensuring that their products are airtight and able to form a continuous air barrier prior to leaving the warehouse.

However, it’s important to note that no matter how airtight doors and windows are manufactured, their ability to meet these air leakage requirements is also dependent upon proper installation. If doors and windows are not installed correctly, passing air leakage tests may not be achievable.

To ensure proper installation, contractors are using:

  • Tapes
  • Gaskets
  • Caulks and sealants
  • Spray foams

Additionally, many contractors are using flashing products in sheet and liquid formulations to seal any openings.

Furthermore, contractors should keep in mind that the various installation materials must all be compatible in order to ensure full functionality and air leakage prevention. Doing so will help avoid any issues in the future after installation.

air leakage

How Bostik Can Help Contractors Meet Air Leakage Requirements

Bostik is a leading manufacturer of silicone, polyurethane and silyl modified polyether sealants. Compatible with a variety of door and window finishes, these products are able to work efficiently and effectively, avoiding functionality issues and helping meet air leakage requirements.

Our PRO-MS50 sealant, in particular, can withstand an increase and decrease of at least 50% of the joint width in accordance with ASTM C-920. In other words, it allows for an airtight seal even during joint movement.

Additionally, Bostik’s sealants comply with AAMA standards for narrow joint seam sealers with performance factors that include:

  • Hardness factors
  • Peel adhesion
  • Slump
  • Vehicle migration
  • Low temperature flexibility
  • Water resistance
  • Racking

Bostik sealants also comply with AAMA standards for exterior perimeter sealing compounds. In addition to the performance factors mentioned above, these also include staining.

Furthermore, our products have the capacity to provide matching colors to window frames and veneers, such as:

  • Stucco
  • Siding
  • Metal Panels
  • Aluminum
  • Brick and stone

Combined with a total system warranty, Bostik is able to offer contractors the reassurance that our products will help them get the job done right the first time.

For more information, call 800-7-BOSTIK.

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