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Building Science

Airflow Around Openings

Openings around plumbing, vents and electrical service entries are responsible for 17% of the air leakage in our homes that inflates our energy bills (Source: U.S. Department of Energy).

What's the problem?
  • Holes made for plumbing, venting and electrical service are natural air leakage areas that are hard to fill with conventional fibrous insulation
  • Cold water pipes (that provide service outside) are also areas of moisture problems, when uncontrolled moist air moves around them and is allowed to condense. See Rim Joists for an example of a common problem area
What can you do?
  • Use expanding spray foam insulation to seal gaps surrounding plumbing, venting and electrical openings. Use foam in a can products for small jobs or an expert-installed open-cell spray foam insulation/ air barrier for new homes/ renovations
  • Where accessible, consider insulating cold water pipes to prevent condensation 

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We have a ceramic floor above the garage and in the winter, the floor would often be 18 degrees colder than the room temperature. After removing the fiberglass and adding Icynene, the temperature difference is now less than 2 degrees, and we no longer have frozen pipes.
Todd & Jeri,