Thursday, June 20th by Marc Tannenbaum
Today, most of the 100 million homes across the U.S are facing a major epidemic. Many homeowners are living in uncomfortable and unhealthy homes, unaware of the money they are wasting trying to heat and cool them.
Even after HVAC contractors install higher efficiency, properly sized equipment, many homeowners are calling them back because they still have rooms and entire homes that remain too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. Poor indoor air quality, made worse in many homes that have air handlers and leaky ducts in attics, is contributing to illnesses like asthma and allergies for families living in these homes.
Homeowners continue to live in unhealthy and money wasting homes, experiencing higher heating and cooling bills than they should because of 3 Bad Decisions made by home builders and some contractors.
1. Insulating Attics Without Air Sealing Attic Floors First
When homeowners are too cold or too hot, they may call an insulation contractor to add or install insulation into their attics. Unfortunately, most of these contractors do not air seal the attic floor before adding or installing insulation.
Penetrations in the air and temperature boundary between the attic and the living space are completely ignored! Pipe and wire penetrations, can lights, chimney chases, top plates, drop down stairs and other gaps and cracks in the attic floor are places that the air you paid to heat in winter can leak into the attic. Since the attic is ventilated, this air is lost to the outside. Heat from super- hot attics in the summer can migrate to the home, increasing the cooling load in living spaces. Unsealed attic floors leads to rooms and homes that are difficult to heat in winter and cool in summer.
The air flowing through these gaps and cracks also deposits dirt and dust in fiberglass batts. Dirty insulation has a reduced ability to resist heat flow between the attic and living areas in the home, making it harder to heat and cool the home. Heating and cooling systems must run longer to deliver comfort to the home, increasing fuel and electric bills and wasting your money.
Warm, moist air leaking into cold, winter attics condenses on the underside of roof decks, which can lead to mold. Mold contributes to unhealthy indoor air quality that can make homeowners sick! In severe cases, this can lead to serious rot issues and failing roofs.
2. Not Enough (or ANY) Insulation on Attic Floors
Attics that are ventilated are considered outdoor space. In the winter, they are very cold, and in the summer, they are extremely hot. Most homebuilders and insulation contractors don’t add or install enough insulation to deliver adequate resistance to heat flow to and from the attic space and the living area. This makes the upstairs ceilings very hot, turning them to indoor radiant heaters during the summer. In wintertime, heated air rises to the top of the house, and conducts through the dry wall ceiling and into the attic, making it more difficult to keep your customers warm and comfortable in wintertime.
3. Ducts in Attics
Ducts in attics are a major contributor to this epidemic. Many homes have heating and cooling systems and ductwork in their attics, the most hostile area of the home. Attics can be 130 degrees or hotter in the summer. Uninsulated or under-insulated ducts in attics act as reheating lines, with the cold air homeowners paid to cool gaining heat from the very hot attic as the air moves through the ducts to the areas of the home that need to be cooled! The opposite happens in winter. Ducts act as re-chilling lines, with the air homeowners paid to heat, losing that heat to the cold, cold attics.
These systems are designed to produce and distribute a certain amount and temperature of air to heat and cool the home. Unfortunately, a large percentage of that air is lost along the way due to duct leakage. Up to 47% of the air your customers paid to heat or cool can be lost through holes, gaps and poor connections in ductwork. Many homes have heating and cooling systems and ductwork in their attics, the most hostile area of the home. Attics can be 130 degrees or hotter in the summer. Uninsulated or under-insulated ducts in attics act as reheating lines, with the cold air homeowners paid to cool gaining heat from the very hot attic as the air moves through the ducts to the areas of the home that need to be cooled! The opposite happens in winter. Ducts act as re-chilling lines, with the air homeowners paid to heat, losing that heat to the cold, cold attics.
If there is an air handler in the attic as well, it can suck contaminates like mouse feces, mold spores and dust from the attic into the ducts, and be distributed right into the living areas.
If your attic floor and ducts are not sealed up and insulated properly, you are living in one of the 100 million U.S. homes that is suffering from this epidemic. To make sure your home is comfortable and safe, contact your local Dr. Energy Saver provider today to schedule your estimate.
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