air leaks Category
When you have unoccupied or under-used rooms in your house, closing air vents in those rooms is an energy-saving strategy that seems to make sense. This conclusion is usually based on three false assumptions:
- Less heat going into rooms means furnace energy consumption is reduced.
- Heat obstructed by closed vents in an unoccupied room is simply redistributed to occupied rooms.
- It is only hot air, so there is no harm to equipment in shutting off the air flow.
Here are the facts countering those assumptions. Closing air vents is not recommended by HVAC experts. It does not save energy and can actually upset the supply and return airflow balance throughout the rest of the house. Closing air vents in some rooms could even damage critical furnace components. Consider the assumptions one at a time:
- A furnace has no way to know that vents in any room are open or closed. Your furnace just keeps on faithfully producing the same British Thermal Units (BTUs) of heat output—and consuming the same amount of energy—as it was designed to do. Net result: no energy savings.
- When air vents are closed, heat is not necessarily redistributed to the nearest room where vents are open. Sometimes, it is distributed into your attic, crawl space or within your interior walls. Residential ductwork is notoriously leaky and typically spills at least 20 percent of the heat it is supposed to deliver. Closing supply vents increases air pressure inside the ducts, forcing an even greater volume of heated air out through leaks into unconditioned zones of the house. To compensate for lost heating, the furnace runs longer cycles, increasing heating costs.
- Vital furnace components require a minimum return airflow volume to maintain safe internal temperature. Closing supply air vents in rooms reduces return airflow, potentially overheating the heat exchanger—the most expensive component in the system—and causing cracks to develop. A defective heat exchanger can even pose a safety hazard due to carbon monoxide (CO) infiltration.
For more effective ways to save on heating costs than closing air vents, contact the professionals at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
When adding attic insulation, homeowners commonly have two choices: fiberglass batts or blown-in cellulose. It’s an important decision because the attic is an important target area for effective insulation. In winter, rising heat in rooms conducts through the ceiling into the attic, causing your furnace to run longer to compensate, raising heating costs. In summer, concentrated heat in the attic radiates down into living spaces and overworks your A/C. Adding attic insulation of the right type and quantity makes a difference in indoor comfort and efficiency year-round. Here’s why blown-in is often the best choice.
Fiberglass batts roll out between ceiling joists and must be cut and patched in an attempt to fill the many odd-shaped nooks and crannies in a typical attic. Cellulose is a loose-fill product composed of millions of bits of pulverized paper treated with fire retardant. Blown into your attic under air pressure, cellulose effectively fills every void of any shape, large or small, for comprehensive coverage to fully inhibit heat transfer. Once installed, cellulose has the coverage density and appearance of a layer of new-fallen snow.
The efficiency of an insulating material is rated by its R value. “R” stands for resistance and the numeral assigned indicates the material’s effectiveness at inhibiting heat transfer. Fiberglass insulation has an R value averaging 3.2 per inch of depth. Cellulose offers an R value of 3.8 per inch—a significant improvement indicating greater heat resistance than fiberglass.
Reduced Air Leakage
No form of insulation is an adequate replacement for proper air sealing to prevent air leakage. However, a layer of cellulose does slow air moving in and out of the attic, while fiberglass insulation has no effect at all.
Fiberglass insulation is made from new raw materials. High-temperature gas-fired furnaces are required to melt and spin the mineral fibers into the finished product. Cellulose is 75 percent recycled paper and cloth and the manufacturing process is far less energy-intensive.
Thinking about adding attic insulation to increase energy efficiency and indoor comfort? Contact the professionals at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
Finding ways to reduce your home’s energy bills is always a challenge. There are dozens of home improvement projects for energy efficiency in the home — things to be upgraded, improved and implemented that can make an impact. To make the best use of your time, identify any problem areas that you know of and focus in on fixing those first. (more…)
Now that outside temperatures are getting lower, it’s time to take a serious look at how you can reduce heating costs in your Greater Cincinnati area home. Here are four strategies that we recommend. (more…)
Shorter days and cooler temperatures are subtle reminders for what’s to come in the months ahead. While you’re preparing your home for the harsh reality of a Cincinnati winter, consider making some additional changes to help conserve energy and lower your monthly heating bill. Here are some great energy saving tips to get you started. (more…)
The cooling season is in full swing in greater Cincinnati, and it’s only going to get hotter from here. If you’re looking for ways to improve air conditioning efficiency to increase comfort and lower energy bills, it’s time to make a few improvements in both your home and with its HVAC system. These tips can help you save money, lower your carbon footprint, prevent common A/C problems and take a load off the system for better performance. (more…)
Does the idea of adding insulation make you think of winter? Many greater Cincinnati homeowners forget about the boost in comfort and savings available in the summer cooling season from insulation. Now’s a great time to have your local handyman add insulation to make your home more cost-effective to cool this season and heat in winter. The best place to begin is in the attic. (more…)
Do you think that weatherstripping is something you only need to worry about in the winter time? The same gaps that allow cold air in during the winters can allow hot air in during the summer. If you want to lower energy bills year round, you need to have it installed. (more…)
For the greater Cincinnati area, the many benefits of window washing in summer begin with the beautiful views opened up to you by sparkling clean glass. But the benefits of window washing do not end there. Some less obvious advantages to clean windows can actually boost your home’s energy efficiency, saving you money this summer. (more…)
Cincinnati summers are long and hot, and keeping your energy bills in check is likely a constant struggle. There are a number of things you can do this year to run the A/C more efficiently without sacrificing comfort. (more…)