Houses and buildings, particularly those assembled before 2000 that haven’t been renovated since, often have comfort issues throughout the year. These problems are even more prevalent in areas that frequently experience chilly weather and freezing precipitation. Many people think that replacing a few windows or getting new wall cladding will ultimately fix the issue. While these upgrades may help a bit in that they make properties less difficult to heat and reduce the workload on heating systems, they won’t solve the root problems behind uneven temperatures unless you target the correct points of energy loss.
It’s high time to fix the weak areas in your home where you typically lose heat — and therefore money — during the winter season. Here’s a list of common residential features and zones to address.
Cracks in windows and doors. In many instances, the biggest causes of heat loss in residential spaces are gaps or cracks around exterior windows and doors. It’s quite common for these spots to be less apparent than you would initially expect, especially since an unsealed gap under a standard 36-inch wide door can allow just as much heat leakage as a 2.5″ hole through a wall does.
In order to sort out this seemingly slight issue, tightly seal cracks and crevices with caulk or foam. You may also opt to install new weatherstripping around operable parts of windows and doors, like loose hinges or window jambs. Caulk can be used to seal cracks that are less than 1.4″ wide on non-movable parts of windows as well. The affected area is normally around the frame of the window. If you can see larger gaps, you might need to apply insulation foam to make it extremely airtight.
All of these steps can help ward off energy-wasting leaks and cut down the heating load of heating systems. Keep in mind, however, that weatherstripping will wear out over time due to weather conditions and daily wear and tear. This means you need to occasionally seal drafts and replace old, shabby weatherstripping to keep heat in the house.
Framed walls. Another area that frequently allows heat loss is framed walls. After many years, some types of insulation will start to degrade and lose their effectiveness. But how can you determine whether it’s time to upgrade your insulation? First off, select an electrical outlet installed on the exterior wall of your home. Turn off the power to the chosen outlet and then remove the outlet cover. On initial inspection, you’ll be able to see how much insulation there is presently and what type it is. Look up the insulation type to find out if it should be replaced or increased in its R-value.
A simple home energy audit may determine that the walls are in fact the most significant cause of heat loss in your home — causing your energy bills to spike during the colder months. If this is the case, contact a local heating company and discuss the potential remedies for your problem. Fortunately, adding more insulation doesn’t necessarily translate to refurbishing your home completely, which is an undeniably tall order for most homeowners. Modern innovations have long introduced other efficient options that are appropriate for homes with existing insulated walls. From loose-fill cellulose insulation to fiberglass and mineral insulation, you can freely choose what’s best for your given situation. Take note that the process of applying insulation isn’t a DIY project, so make sure to hire a residential and commercial HVAC professional to do the job for you.
Basement and subfloor walls. The basement is the part of your home that’s below ground level, while the subfloor is the foundation beneath finished flooring materials. These are common areas in residential buildings, such as single-family homes, that people don’t really give much consideration on a day-to-day basis. But the truth is, while nearly one percent of heat loss goes through the basement floor, up to 20 percent can escape through the basement walls.
Similar to framed walls located throughout the rest of the house, the main solution to this problem is to install more insulation around the walls or finish out the basement if it’s made of cement. You have numerous options for proper and sufficient insulation when you’re in the process of finishing the basement compared to simply adding insulation to an already existing subfloor wall. Make sure to inspect the R-value or thermal resistance rating of new insulation to learn how quickly it permits the escape of heat. This will help you come to know the effectiveness of the various types of insulation on the market. A variety of products, including blanket batts and rolls, foam boards, concrete blocks and fiber insulation, can be used by reliable residential and commercial HVAC companies to insulate unfinished basements and subfloors.
Recessed lighting fixtures, electrical wiring and pipes. There’s no doubt that recessed lighting fixtures — or light fixtures installed into hollow openings in the ceiling — can boost the charm and appeal of your interior space. However, while they may be pretty to look at, they can wreak havoc on your home’s temperature and contribute to higher heating bills every month. Since the installation of each fixture puts an open hole in your ceiling, it introduces a potential area where indoor heating can escape and enter the attic instead.
Just about every hole in your house has the potential for undesirable airflow. In a similar fashion, all of the tiny gaps and holes that are constructed for plumbing fixtures used to transport water and other narrow tubes used to move oil, gas and other fluid substances all over the house can become unintentional passageways for heating or air conditioning.
Attic Floor and Attic Knee Wall
An attic floor with poor insulation is another problematic area that homeowners should pay close attention to. Your attic can become extremely warm during the hot, humid summer months. Overheated, moisture-filled air can easily permeate through the floor below and disperse in every room of the house if you don’t have sufficient insulation. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the standard for a well-insulated attic is to have at least 15 inches of insulation material on the floor. This equates to a thermal value of R49. Sadly, many homes only have 20 to 30 percent of the necessary insulation, which is three to five inches.
An attic knee wall refers to the vertical separation between the triangular attic space on one side and conditioned space on the other side. This feature can become notably problematic in Cape Cod-style houses. It often lets in cold air in the winter and hot air in the summer. Also, it can allow the comfortably-heated air from inside your house to seep out.
Contact Us for Quality Heating and Air Conditioning Services
Keep your home cozy all-year-round with professional HVAC services. Acker Heating & Cooling is a premier source of heating and air conditioning solutions in the greater Athens, GA, area. Our top-rated technicians are committed to providing the comfort and efficiency every residential or commercial client needs through industry-leading products and outstanding customer service. Call us today at (706) 989-6663 or fill out our contact form to set up an appointment.