An item on the Energy Star Thermal Bypass Checklist. Item 5.1.2, to be exact ...
Part of earning an Energy Star means doing the blocking and spackling required to stop heat from leaking through the building envelope.
Little plumbing holes can really add up (so can the big ones) because air can squeeze through small holes, finding big passageways, and hidden compartments that lead to more holes in the envelope.
If you are working on new construction, blocking and spackling is easy: frame the walls wherever you want them, schedule the plumber to do the *ruff* in, and wait for the plumber to come back and seal all the holes that he cut.
While you are waiting, you might as well get to work:
- Seal the small holes with low expansion foam. Your building inspector may want fire suppression foam, which has an orange tint to it.
- Cover the bigger holes with sheet metal or almost any other sheet stock.
- Seal the edges with acoustical sealant and foam the gaps.
The tops of walls are treated the same as the bottoms:
- Use sheet stock, like drywall or plywood, to cover the holes
- Seal the large openings with foam
- Seal the small openings, too
With a continuous air barrier, the insulation can actually work, and you will be one step closer to the energy star badge of honor.