Spring is a great time of year to asses, and then take the right measures to improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your home. If you want to get up and work in the attic, it's not hot or too cold.
Let me quote Michael Busby, Ph.D., who was a NASA Aerospace Engineer and started a company called Watt Count Engineering which engineered proven solutions for homeowners.
"Yes, today YOU can make home improvements or build a home that is ultra energy efficient, healthy, comfortable and quieter without doing what most people think you have to do and cost you an 'arm and a leg.'"
I've listed 5 major problem areas to investigate and then how to 'prescribe' (RX) the solutions
#1: Drafty Rooms
Air leaking into your house around windows, doors, electric outlets, light fixtures and gaps in corners, can cause rooms to feel drafty and uncomfortable. In the winter as cold air through leaks, warm air escapes, (in the summer, it is reversed). The biggest air leaks are often found in the attic, especially if you have recessed lights in your ceiling. Most homeowners don't realize how much this is. Even in a new house.
The RX: Air sealing can help stop drafts, improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your home, and reduce your utility bills. Common areas for air leaks are around windows, doors, electrical outlets, light fixtures, and gaps in corners. Some leaks are easy to find and fix, but holes hidden in attics, basements, and crawlspaces are usually bigger problems.
#2: Areas Commonly Lacking Proper Insulation
Heat naturally travels from high temperature areas to low temperature areas. Unfortunately, this process can create numerous problems for your home. The job of insulation is to limit heat transfer. Learn about the benefits of comprehensive insulation by taking a look at these common household areas that lack proper insulation:
Most ducts run through sections of the home with built-in insulation, which limits a duct’s exposure to heat transfer. Unfortunately, some duct sections are installed in attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Homeowners can lower the heat loss in unprotected ducts by adding additional insulation. EnergySavers.gov reports that insulating these unprotected sections can improve cooling efficiency by up to 30%.
Most homeowners insulate their attics, but few families consider the benefits of insulating attic access; which is either a hatch door or pull-down staircase.
An unfinished garage is quick to draw heating and cooling from the home. Additionally, a lack of proper garage insulation can lead to mold and moisture problems. Garage door insulation alleviates both of these risks.
The RX: Add insulation
#3: Rooms That Are Too Hot or Too Cold
Rooms in your home may be too warm in the summer or too cold in the winter. There are several factors which include inadequate insulation, air leakage, poor duct system design, duct leakage, or an under-performing heating and cooling system.
The RX: This condition can be caused by several factors including inadequate insulation, air leakage, poor duct system design, duct leakage, or a failure in part of your heating and cooling system. Not only does this affect the comfort and health of your family, it can also cause high utility bills. In a typical house about 20 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts.
#4: High Energy Bills
The RX: It is common to trace high energy bills to inefficient windows, heating and cooling equipment, ductwork, and insulation or a failure of one of these components to perform as intended.
Identify sources of excessive energy usage including air leaks in the attic, ceiling, exterior walls, windows, and doors; missing or insufficient insulation; leaking ductwork; and more.
If you want to pinpoint where your heat loss is you can hire a home performance company to use state-of-the-art tools, including a blower door and infrared camera to know for sure.
#5: Old and inefficient heating and cooling system
The RX: Old and inefficient appliances can cause a variety of comfort, health and safety, financial, and environmental problems. Sims Heating and Cooling can help you determine if you need new, high efficiency units to replace your aging and inefficient furnace, boiler, or air conditioner. A great place to start is with an A/C or Furnace Tune Up. If replacing is a smart investment for you, we will install a properly-sized unit, and make sure the air flows correctly and is evenly distributed throughout the house.
The next series of articles, we'll get into more specifics.
At Sims Heating and Cooling, our goal is not only be your HVAC service company of choice, but deliver as much useful education for homeowners; helping the achieve maximum comfort, energy efficiency, and a healthy indoor environment.