Heating and cooling are the two main energy and money consuming processes in any home particularly in places like Florida where they experience all the four seasons of the year. homeowners have invested in high performing HVAC units, but still they see themselves losing in that they do not realize the full benefits of these systems. One of the areas that tend to be forgotten in heating and cooling is sealing of leakages. As a matter of fact, heating and cooling a home that has lots of leakages is tantamount to wastage of money. This is because leakages change the pressure in your house and alter the heating and cooling equation.
If the stack effect has taken a toll in your home, you are probably losing lots of energy than you can imagine and worse still, you may not be aware of it. As the temperature difference between the inside and outside of your home differs significantly, the stack effect worsens.
During winter, heating your home should give you comfort. However, when your home is leaking, the resulting temperature differential creates a stack effect which in turn forces air to move through your structure. The same effect occurs in summer when you air condition your home while the outside air is heated up. Doing away with the stack effect is relatively easy because all you need to do is to ensure all the leaking points in your home are properly sealed.
How the Stack Effect Ventilation Works
The stack effect follows the laws of nature which state that warm air always rises and cold air dives in to replace the raising air. During winter, the air outside is cold and as such has a higher pressure compared to the indoor air. This denser cold air moves into your home through leaking doors and windows as well as any gaps and cracks. When it comes in, it pushes the warm indoor air generated by the furnace up through the ceiling into the attic where it eventually escapes. This never ending cycle makes your HVAC system to work extra hard to warm your home.
During summer, the reverse happens and the warmer outdoor air moves to the top of your house thereby forcing the warm air in the attic to come down into the home to equalize the temperature before it escapes through the crawlspace leaks and basement.
Where to Prioritize Air Sealing
In order to improve your home comfort and stop energy loss, you must fix all the leaky joints inside your home particularly at the entry points. All cracks should be sealed with caulk and for the larger ones; you can make use of expanding foam spray.
Inspect your attics and check for cracks around the chimney, recessed lights, electrical wiring, stove vents, exhaust fan vents and vents for plumbing. Also, in places where the attic walls meet and in areas where ceilings flows and walls join together.
In the basement, ensure you seal around the area where the foundation and the first floor join, the sill plate and any penetrations in the floors for electrical wiring, ductwork and wiring. With this knowledge, you can effectively address the stack effect in your home. If you have never had air leakage inspection, you can hire an energy audit professional to do so.