Dear Mr. Energy,
You are always going on about sealing this, sealing that. Seal your ducts! Seal your attic! Seal your escutcheons (whatever those are)! Is it possible to seal too much?
–Wondering in Wendell
The answer to your question is no, it is not possible to seal too much. But it is possible to get a house so tightly sealed that no outside air comes in, which is a bad thing. Sounds contradictory, right? Not really.
Here’s the deal: sealing a house keeps energy from leaking out or leaking in. You want that. It’s a good thing. But a certain amount of fresh air has to circulate in order for the house to be safe. So it’s a balance. If your home is super-sealed (including the escutcheons, which are the little plates that surround where your plumbing enters your home), you need to install appropriate ventilation to make sure the home’s inhabitants get the air changes they need to be healthy.
Which is why it’s very important to enlist the help of a professional building scientist if your home is approaching super-tight status. Building scientists see the house as a whole system, and possess the appropriate skills, knowledge, and equipment to make sure that in addition to creating a very energy-efficient home, you are also creating a safe home.
You can find a building scientist by looking at the list of accredited analysts on the Building Performance Institute’s website: bpi.org. And yes, Mr. Energy is one. How else would he know everything he has been telling you?