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Air Leaks & Ice Dams Introduction

Simply speaking, the materials of a house that separate the outside from the inside are considered the home’s envelope. It is the barrier that keeps us from experiencing the extremes of the outside environment and keeps the inside of our home comfortable, dry, and energy efficient.  

The home’s envelope includes windows, doors, walls, ceilings, and foundations. Each of these components consist of several elements that go together to create the structure. So, for instance, a wall section may consist of the interior paint, the drywall, the framing lumber, the air barrier and vapor sealing, the insulation, the exterior sheathing, the siding, and the exterior paint. Well-designed components work together to make the envelope as tight as possible.

Where do you start?

Fortunately, air infiltration is one of the easiest forms of energy loss to correct. The process requires only a careful inspection of your home and some inexpensive weather-stripping, caulking, and filler materials.

Most people know they should caulk and weather-strip around the exterior of their homes to protect it from the elements. However, it is equally important to protect your home from interior air leaks. Moist interior air can enter the walls and ceiling through cracks and holes, and condensation buildup in those locations can damage or destroy insulation, wiring, wood, or other building materials.

Contact Us

Direct contact to the Energy Information Center which specializes in consumer and contractor energy issues. Also information about renewable energy sources.

1-800-657-3710 (MN only)
651-539-0109 FAX

Consumer Guides

Our energy euides cover these home energy topics:

Home Envelope (.pdf)
This guide describes the basic components of a house that separate the outdoors from the indoors. It contains ways to reduce energy use with insulation, air-sealing, windows, and doors. Information is included on how to assess the current operation of your home through an energy audit and how to begin the process of tightening your home to curtail energy consumption.

A significant portion of home energy use is for all of the common things that make our lives easier and safer. The Appliances, Lighting, and Electronics guide discusses options for reducing energy consumption of these devices by changing when and how we use them. Additionally, there is information on what to consider when you are repairing or replacing these items.