PROPER WAY TO ELIMINATE MOISTURE LADEN AIR PROBLEMS IN A HEATING CLIMATE

(a heating climate is where you spend more money on heating your home in the winter than money spent cooling your home in the summer)

AIR LEAKAGE THROUGH WALLS AND CEILINGS – During the heating months, we have high vapor pressures and thermal forces forcing the warm air in our living envelope into wall cavities, ceiling cavities, and attics. Even with properly installed insulation, vapor barriers, and gypsum wallboard, we can have huge air leakage problems. Typical problem areas are light fixtures and scuttle holes in our ceilings and electrical openings in our walls. Many times we find that:

  • There is no sealant placed between our electrical fixtures and gypsum wallboard.
  • The opening in the electrical boxes are not sealed with silicone (or equivalent).
  • The scuttle hole door or attic stairway is not properly sealed.
  • Can lights in ceilings are not properly insulated.
  • Holes in our wall framing for electrical wiring or plumbing are not sealed.

All of these air leakage problem areas can cause serious moisture issues in the cold cavities or our homes where the moisture from the resulting condensation causes decay/mold problems. The best way to correct these problems is to reverse them. All openings in our walls and ceiling should be made absolutely air-tight. The perimeter of all electrical openings, plumbing openings, etc. should be sealed with a sealant. Ideally the holes in electrical boxes should be sealed tight from the back side with a silicone sealant. Attic scuttle holes should be gasketed to allow easy access while still being air tight. Sometimes an attic stairway tent is the best option.

Another area of concern is the perimeter of the gypsum wallboard itself. Air can easily penetrate the wall cavity along the bottom of the wall cavity. This can also occur around windows and doors as well as the top of the wall if there is not a gypsum board ceiling. This can be prevented by embedding the gypsum wallboard in a sealant when installing to form an air tight gasket around the perimeter. Any holes drilled/cut into the wall framing leading to another room or area should also be sealed to prevent any air flow.

*All of the above information is trademarked and is the property of RESTORx. We feel it is the most current and accurate information available but we do not guarantee it be the only proper solution. Written by Stephen Gitz, CR, WLS, CMP