Strategic Air Sealing

Course Description/Abstract

This course describes the procedures for locating, prioritizing, and remediating unwanted air leakage in existing buildings. The implications of the problems addressed in this process can also be applied to the design and construction of new structures.


Air sealing is simply closing holes, cracks, and gaps where air passes through. Sounds simple, right? But, how can you consistently get the most cost-effective results? Find out how to manage your time and materials effectively. Explore how to increase your productivity through the use of diagnostic equipment such as blower doors, theatrical fog machines, infrared, and monitoring equipment in tandem with the work.
Strategic air sealing is “an organized process for meeting specific airtightness performance goals with integrated diagnostic/quality assurance procedures and remediation work at the lowest possible cost.”

The Strategic Air Sealing process

Establish the project goals

Locate the air leakage sites and identify other building envelope problems that may be related to achieving the project goals
Prioritize the root causes of the problem (air leakage, poor insulation, inadequate ventilation, etc.)

Identify the different approaches available to address these problems

Determine the most cost-effective approach or combination of approaches

Attack the largest, most accessible leakage sites first

Assess the improvement with respect to achieving the project goals

Perform more cycles of improvement, if necessary, as required to achieve the project goals

Verify the effectiveness of the installed measures

Understanding the problem

Define the problem (excessive energy use, ice dams, freeze-ups, vermin, etc.)

Define the project goals (estimate cost, maximize energy savings, remediate failures, reduce attic temperatures, reduce air leakage rate, etc.)

Determine the threshold for success (airtightness standard, attic temperatures below freezing, crawl spaces above freezing) *

Plan how to meet the goals (strategic air sealing, prescriptive air sealing, increase or balance ventilation after air sealing, etc.)

Plan how to assess the improvement (monitoring, compliance tests, etc.)

Perform rre-work diagnostics

Determine where the air leaks are so they can be efficiently sealed

Avoid sealing areas that aren’t leaking

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to diagnose air leakage problems.

Participants will be able to prioritize leakage sites with respect to performance improvements.

Participants will be able to analyze and compare prescriptive air sealing ROI vs. strategic air sealing ROI.

Participants will be able to identify other causes of typical building envelope problems after their air sealing work is complete.

Participants will be able to assess the impact of air sealing work in the context of the whole house as a system.

Participants will be able to calculate and guarantee the improvement in airtightness for a given project.

Participants will be able to model the airtightness improvement for their air sealing work in a given zone.

Participants will be able to locate remaining leakage sites after their air sealing work.

Participants will be able to track the temperature and humidity of their completed projects to assure durability of their work

Participants will be able to verify air quality in the work areas.