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How Tightening Your Home’s Envelope Can Save Energy

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Many Fayetteville, NC homeowners waste a lot of energy because of insufficient insulation and excessive air loss. Repairing leaks and tightening your home’s envelope will help to save energy and reduce utility bills.

Your Home’s Envelope

Building envelope or your home’s envelope refers to the physical separation between the conditioned and unconditioned areas of your home. If your building’s envelope is not intact, air, light, water, heat, and noise will easily transfer from one space to another. In this article, we will focus on the transfer of air between spaces.

Conditioned or wanted air would be cooled air during the summer and warm air during the winter. This is generally from your HVAC system, but there are times, usually between seasons, when you are able to enjoy comfortable indoor air without using the HVAC system. Unwanted air (from unconditioned spaces) would be any warm air entering the spaces to be cooled, or cold air entering the spaces to be heated.

If valuable air is being lost and unwanted air is able to seep into your home, this can affect the efficiency of your HVAC system. This is generally reflected in uncomfortable indoor temperatures and increased energy bills as your system struggles to heat or cool your home.

Sources of Unwanted Air

There are many vulnerable areas around your home. It is important to pay attention to structural changes or problems as they could be impacting your energy consumption. Air is usually gained or lost from unconditioned spaces such as:

  • The attic
  • The basement
  • Outdoors
  • Crawlspaces
  • Garages

These areas usually experience temperature extremes. If these areas are not properly sealed the result will be a transfer of air between the spaces. Many of these problems are the result of poor construction when the home was being built.

Identifying Leaks in Your Home’s Envelope

You can often see cracks or gaps around your home, or feel or even hear air seeping into your home. However, one very effective method used to assess the security of your home’s envelope is a blower door test. The blower door is a large fan that is placed within the frame of an exterior doorway. The fan depressurizes the home to measure air leakage. The blower door test will identify leaks or cracks throughout the house — whether via the walls, windows, door, foundation, or roof. A professional blower door test shows you exactly where your home can benefit from reinforcement.

Your Windows, Doors, and Attic

These in addition to the basement, are the usual suspects for air loss or gain. Proper insulation, caulk, or weatherstripping, will provide effective protection in these areas. Cracks or gaps generally develop in windows and doors over time. Many attics are not insulated or do not have enough, or the right kind of insulation. A well-sealed envelope will greatly reduce the amount of air seepage as well as energy waste.

Seal Ductwork to Prevent Energy Loss

Ductwork is generally located in unconditioned spaces. As the conditioned air is being transported through the system of ducts, they can be affected by the temperature of the surrounding air. Adding insulation around any exposed ductwork effectively protects the conditioned air as it flows through.

Benefits of Proper Sealing

Apart from uncomfortable indoor environment, air that leaks through the home’s envelope can also reduce indoor air quality. It is estimated that air leaks account for as much as 40 percent of the energy used to heat and cool the average home. A good contractor can help you to save on heating and cooling costs by properly sealing and insulating your home. Your HVAC system will circulate air through your entire home much more efficiently. It will also be easier for you to regulate the thermostat, and you will no longer need to set your thermostat to unnecessarily high or low to temperatures to achieve indoor comfort. The energy bill will reflect the savings too.

As much as you want to ensure your home is properly sealed, it is important to ensure indoor air is fresh. Consider indoor air quality products such as an air purifier or an energy recovery ventilator. These devices use purify the indoor air. By helping your HVAC system to maintain fresh, breathable air, these systems also help you to save energy. They reduce humidity, enabling you to reduce reliance on the air conditioner to improve comfort.

Bass Air Conditioning Company has many effective solutions to improve the efficiency of your home and HVAC system. Give us a call (910) 672-8885 for information about more ways you can reduce energy waste and save money in your home.

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