If you follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram or Linkedin) you will have seen we posted a short video of a helium balloon floating around in a circular motion up by the ceiling. Now there was a fair number of people that knew what was happening and also a fair number that probably weren’t so sure so we have put together a bit of an explanation.
Firstly if you missed the video here it is.
Is the house haunted
Well no not that we know of. What we are seeing is the balloon is being moved around by the air that is coming into the room. You might think yeah but thats what the wind does but this video was taken when all the windows and external doors in the home where shut.
What we are dealing with is uncontrolled air infiltration, If you look below you will see the layout of the house and where the video was taken. The door where the green ballon is connects the original part of the house (built somewhere in the early 1900’s) to a newer extension. We have marked up lines with arrows to show the pathway the air might be taking.
The layout of the Balloon Test Home
Room 1 and 2: Existing (Renovated) 1900’s stone house
Room 3 and 4: Extension added in the last few years
Sky Blue blocks = Windows
Brown Blocks = Doors
Camera = Filming location
Balloon = Balloon Location
What is uncontrolled Air infiltration?
Uncontrolled air infiltration is air that is entering the home that we have no control over. This is air leaks through gaps and cracks around the home. Big ones and small ones they all add up.
In our mock up above we are assuming that the air infiltration is from the gaps and cracks around the doors and windows on the external fabric of the home but air leaks can also occur though some power points, recessed lights, holes in cabinet where plumbing pipes come though to name a few.
But the door was shut
You might ask how air infiltration can happen when you have all the windows and door closed in your house. Well below are just a couple of pictures that show problem areas in the home.
My House is like that?
Have you just said that in your head? Well don’t be ashamed you are not alone. With a number of older homes out there and also a possible lack of awareness in the building trade these days it is a very common issue. The shocking thing is that uncontrolled air infiltration is very common in a number of new homes.
Well why should I care?
If you are trying to heat your home well the bad news is you are loosing that heat out of the gaps and cracks which means you are loosing the $$$ you paid to produce the heat. In the summer the heat outside can get in through the gaps and cracks so you need to use more energy to keep the house cool again spending more money than you need to.
What can you do?
The first line of defence and best place to start it to do a walk though of your home and make a list of the gaps and cracks you can visually see. We would suggest then taking a trip to you local hardware store and being suitable sealing tapes, sealants and gap fillers. Now get to work knowing that every gap and crack you seal will make a difference.
If you would like to take it up a notch there are a number of companies out there that can undertake a blower door test and thermal imaging to help you find the trouble spots in much more detail.