Controlling air leakage is a key factor in achieving energy efficiency and in meeting the Building Regulations. Ultimately, all six surfaces of the external shell (floor, ceiling, walls) must provide an air tight barrier and this week, we have our top ten tips to help you achieve this.
1 Avoid the Gaps
Ensuring a good result on your air leakage test is all about avoiding the gaps...avoiding gaps in the design and gaps between components will ensure a good air tightness result. Gaps are caused by a lack of awareness and we recommend that air tightness is considered at all stages of the construction process.
2 Minimise the number of service penetrations
Air leakage occurs at penetration points in the fabric of the building when they are not well sealed. Minimising the number of service penetration points (e.g soil pipes, light fittings, gas pipes) will save you time and money – and minimise potential air leakage.
3 Keep an eye on concealed areas
Traditionally, less care is given to areas that will be concealed once the property is occupied – such as in a residential unit, behind kitchen units, baths and storage areas. The same level of attention that is given to more visible areas needs to be given to these concealed areas.
4 Seal the skirting in every room
Whilst the lowest floor of the building will form part of the air barrier, it is important to ensure that the floor is well sealed at its junction with the wall and that the skirting in every room is sealed. Extra care should be taken sealing behind kitchen units at floor level as it is unlikely that skirting will be fitted.
5 Make sure all electrical fittings are at final fit
All of the electrical fittings should be fully fitted and screwed into place. Also, when dry-lining, it is important to make sure your electrical boxes are perimeter sealed.
6 Pay attention to the seal around trap doors
Leakage can occur through the ceiling into a cold roof loft so it is important to pay attention to seal around trap doors and we recommend an air tight loft hatch.
7 Make sure all plumbing fittings are at final fit
All of the plumbing works should be at final fit. On the day of the test, make sure the water is turned on and that any traps to waste pipes are filled with water – this includes everything from toilets to swimming pools.
8 All windows and external doors should have their rubber seals fitted tightly
It is important to adequately draught-proof windows and external doors. All rubber seals need to be fitted tightly and during construction it is important to pay attention to the gaps around these apertures.
9 Watch for leakage through suspended ceilings
Suspended ceilings are not normally airtight and will require that you add an air tightness layer above the suspended ceiling – to avoid compromising your air test result.
10 Know how the ‘confidence factor’ can affect your result
With the new Part L 2010 regulations, it may be more economical to air test every dwelling. This is because dwellings on a site which are NOT tested will be assessed using the ‘confidence factor’, which is calculated by adding 2 to the average air test result. Make sure you know how this could affect your results.
Would you like to know more? We know that an air test ‘fail’ will cause you an expensive delay. With our construction site experience, and over 4000 air tests under our belt, we have just what you need to get you that important ‘pass’. We are committed to giving you the best price and the best service for air leakage testing. Our Rapid Response team work in your area, which means you won't have to wait and can have an on-site instant result. And the simple fact is that 100% of our customers recommend us. Find out why and ring our hotline now 08458 386 387.