ECOHOME HAS A NEW FAVOURITE WAY TO SEAL HOLES FOR ENVELOPES & DUCTS (1/2)

Aerobarrier sealant makes a breakthrough in Quebec … to better fill the holes!

Ecohome (Écohabitation) November 1, 2018 12:12

Lydia Paradis Bolduc

Original French version / Version originale en français:

ÉCOHABITATION A UN NOUVEAU BOUCHE-TROU PRÉFÉRÉ 1/2

Ecohome cannot overemphasize the importance of airtightness in buildings. A premise for energy efficiency, comfort and air quality, sealing has recently become a new ally.

For more than 20 years, Aeroseal has been using a technique: the spraying of fine particles in the ducts, which, by sticking themselves in cracks and breaks, seal them perfectly. This is the approach used by the company to create the Aerobarrier product, which can seal entire houses and avoid leaks degrading materials and wasting energy. Insightful!

 

How it Works

The house is pressurized between 50 and 100 Pa, with the same procedure that is used for a blower door test, then aerosol nozzles (between 2 and 16, depending on the size of the house) spray GreenGuard Gold & UL181, certified water-based liquid acrylic sealant, into the house. The fine particles, non-toxic and low in VOCs, move towards the leaks and cluster together to gradually seal them. The airflow is monitored in real time by a machine and monitor throughout the entire process, which lasts only a few hours, and ends when the desired HAC level is reached. 

An air barrier is quickly created around ceilings, walls, floors, doors, windows and plumbing and electrical appliances. The product can seal holes from the size of a human hair to ½ inch wide. It’s ideal for filling holes that you do not see, and that you do not even suspect. 

Salvatore Ciarlo, Technical Services Manager – National Standards and Codes at Owens Corning Canada, a well-established company in building insulation, tested the product on seven homes: “On average, the product expanded in less than an hour and a half. The houses then went from an air exchange per hour from 2 to 0.39! It exceeds the Passive House requirements, which are 0.6 renewals per hour. For a standard 2000 sq. ft. home, we are generally talking about work that takes from 3 to 5 hours, including installation and cleaning time. 

We Tested it Ourselves

Ecohome will soon be moving to new offices, which are still under construction. We took advantage of the open walls to measure the tightness and ensure reasonable heating bills in the future. The result of the blower door test made us jump: the CAH was 8.1! Not satisfied with the performance (you can imagine …), we took the opportunity to test the AeroSeal product. The truly professional Aerobarrier company team offered us the work.

After two hours of sealing, the sealing rate stagnated at 3.8 CAH50. Patrick Rouleau, Marketing Director of Aerobarrier Global, therefore stopped the process to thoroughly inspect the premises with his colleagues: “We found several weak points, which had openings of more than 1 inch in diameter. There was a lack of polythene in the ceiling; insulation is poorly compacted and inadequately inserted, causing openings larger than 1 inch.

Sealing by our process seals openings from 0.5 inches to 10 microns; the thickness of a hair. We are confident that once minor anomalies are manually sealed, the CAH50 rate should be less than 1″.

Verdict? We loved it! Without Contradictions.

And as for renovations?

This is possible, and potentially even simpler than major renovations in a leaky house, where leaks are inaccessible. In this situation, it is possible to achieve good levels of sealing, but the operation will be rather like working with a spray paint: furniture will have to be moved, the windows concealed, etc.

 According to Patrick Rouleau: “If someone wants to improve the energy efficiency of their home, it is really a winning product and process. The important thing for the customer is to contact us as soon as possible, so that we can determine the appropriate time to perform the work. For major renovation work, for example, we will stop by once the gypsum is installed, but before reintegrating the furniture. We will also discuss with the customer the type of work to be done and the needs. That way everything can be done in an optimal way.” 

 Any other advantages? The smells! In multi-residential buildings, filling air leaks also means stopping the spread of generally unpleasant odours, from one dwelling to another! Although there is no substitute for efficient ventilation systems, the smell of cigarettes and unwanted cooking fat is gone …

Saving on Time and Costs

The process also saves valuable hours for builders and renovators who want to build to high standards of efficiency: applying sealant and gaskets thoroughly is time consuming, and materials can be a small fortune. In an article published in the Green Building Advisor magazine in March 2018, author Scott Gibson revealed that it took 190 hours and $4,500 of sealing material to make a 2-story house and 2176 sq. ft. to the Passive House compliance. 

 Aeroseal refined its product for four years before marketing it. It is now available in Quebec. And it is also fully adapted to make the houses conform to the Code!

 And what about costs? According to Patrick Rouleau, it can change a great deal. “We are talking about a possible fluctuation between $1.75 and $4.00 per sq. ft., depending on the size and level of air change at the start time and the desired one, but also according to the temperature and the humidity rate, which will influence the setting time of the product. 

 Hey! And do not forget to protect everything that should not be sealed (fans, ventilation ducts, glazing, holes in the bath and sinks, fireplaces, etc.), and leave the premises during the process!

Sources

§ Aeroseal Rolls Out Air-Sealing Technology for Houses, article by Scott Gibson published on Green Building Advisor in March 2018

§ Buildingknowledge.ca

§ The Aerobarrier Website

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