What Exactly Does a "Tight House" Mean ?
I have heard of the word “tight house”. What exactly does that mean?
Rich, there are many factors that go into determining if the home you live in has been built “tight” to cut down on heating and cooling loss and energy costs. Wind speed, location of the forced air duct system, window types and vapor barrier protection are components to determine if your home is “tight”. Every home is unique and needs to be treated as such.
The best method for locating leaks in your home is to have a company who has a Certified Analyst from the Building Performance Institute (BPI) perform a blower test on the home to measure the rate of infiltration into the home. This device is a calibrated fan that blows air out of the house to create a slight pressure difference between the inside and outside. The pressure difference forces air through all holes and penetrations in the exterior envelope. The fan is energized to a certain pressure and through the machines components, the company is able to determine the amount of air leakage the home has. Once the leakage is pinpointed, recommendations are then made to stop and/or minimize the loss, thus saving you money.
This blower test can also estimate the amount of leakage between conditioned space and the garage/attic and crawlspaces. The repairs show big dividends in energy consumption and overall comfort of the home. Natural air leakage in and out of the home varies with the outside temperature and indoor temperatures and wind speed. Uncontrolled air leakage can result in high electric bills, failure of some of the home components. Building practices have changed over the years and there is a demand for more energy efficient homes. Builders are building with house wraps, tight fitting exterior sheathings, vapor barriers, caulking, foams and sealants. All of these items are part of the construction standard. There needs to be natural ventilation in a home. A “tight” home relates to the overall size of all of the holes and penetrations in the exterior of the building envelope. Natural ventilation are the forces that drive air in or out through the leaks in the building envelope.
It is important to know how “tight” your home is before you consider investing in a high efficient heating and cooling system. TDK Comfort Systems is a certified BPI HVAC contractor.