How Airtight Electrical Boxes Create Energy Efficiencies

Every home will experience some internal airflow – heating in winter, cooling in summer and movement from room-to-room. For professionals, airflow is part of a bigger picture that includes ventilation, insulation and air barriers. These terms may not mean much to the average homeowner, but these are the parts of new home construction that will remedy a cold house in winter and a warm house in summer.

Before we talk about details like electrical boxes, let’s explain what an air barrier is and how it is an important part of improving the energy efficiency of a home.

An air barrier, also known as a vapour barrier, typically consists of a plastic sheet that is applied to the exterior walls and ceilings after framing and insulation have been completed and prior to the dry wall stage. The polyethylene sheet creates a barrier that prevents any outside moisture or air drafts from coming straight into your home.

For an energy-efficient home, you want to prevent the movement of air through the wall and framing cavities by creating a continuous seal around the exterior of a home. One place where air can get in and out is through electrical boxes.

Why do self-sealing electrical boxes matter?

Conventional metal electrical boxes don’t do much to prevent air from coming in or out of a home. This air leakage wastes energy, disrupts internal heating or cooling systems, and can create a condensing surface where mould and rot can get a foothold.

Broadview Homes uses airtight electrical boxes, called self-sealing gang boxes, for all their plugs, lights, and switches. Designed to control air leakage through the box, foam gaskets along the edge of the box form a tight seal to the air barrier and automatically self-seal around the wires to further prevent any air movement.

To keep this continuous barrier, Broadview also maximizes the seal around bathroom fans, speaker rough-ins and pot lights in our attic spaces through solid blocking behind the acusta seal. In this way, there are no gaps in other areas of our construction.

Combining these innovative products with enhanced construction techniques maximizes Broadview Homes’ energy efficiency and ultimately makes life more economic for you, the owner (for example, when insulating your attic, Broadview uses ‘R60’ insulation which exceeds the industry standard, ‘R44’).

Watch the video as our Construction Supervisor, Chris Shortt, explains how they work and the benefits of using self-sealing gang boxes in our new home construction.