Improve Your Homes Energy Efficiency
Kozy Services, your Dallas home energy efficiency audit company, understands that homeowners want the most efficient house as possible. Not only does an energy efficient home save you money, but it helps your home to be more eco-friendly.
So what can you do to help your Dallas area home become more energy efficient? Your first step should be to contact the experts at Kozy Services. Our trained technicians will evaluate your home for key areas where energy efficiency could be improved.
Attic insulation is a great place to start as is crawl space insulation and radiant barriers. Beyond insulation you could have an attic ventilation issue as well. Air duct sealing, air duct balancing, and air duct cleaning could also be areas of energy efficiency improvement.
Attic insulation is the “blanket” of your home. Insulation helps keep cold/hot air in or out, depending on the season. So is it simply a case of adding more insulation? In some cases you can simply add more insulation, in other cases you should consider a different type of insulation, and in other cases yet, removal of the old insulation is important. Leaks in roofs can lead to insulation harboring dangerous mold, so every case should be evaluated for the best solution.
Do you have one square foot of ventilation for every 300 sq feet of ceiling in your home? If you don’t, you could be putting your home at risk. To complicate matters further, what works in one part of the country might not work in the Dallas area. Consulting an expert is the safest bet, as there can be no dispute of the significant benefits to a properly ventilated attic.
Air Duct Work
Air ducts, the unsung heros of your heating and air system. They distribute desired air to all parts of your house. Is one room hotter or colder than the rest? You could have a balancing problem or a sealing issue. Dusting everyday? Allergy issues? A professional duct cleaning may be in order.
Attic Tents Can Save You $18 a Month!
Running your heating and cooling system without an attic tent is like running your air conditioning or heater with a window wide open! The typical pull-down attic access stairs have a 1/4″ gap around the door. This gap is the equivalent of a 7″ diameter hole in the ceiling…just wasting your heating and cooling efforts.
Benefits of Attic Tents from Kozy Services
- Creates an air-tight barrier, reducing energy loss year round
- 3.2 R-value
- Stops transfer of humidity, dust, and insulation particles
- Contains no fiber glass materials
- Zippers allow easy access
- Exceeds National Building Code Requirements; ASTM E84-03 (Flame spread tested)
- One of the simplest “upgrades” you can do to start saving money immediately
What the Experts Say
“Attic Tent has similar impact as a typical double-pane window.”
- Advanced Energy Corporation (AEC)
According to Tucker Engineering, installing an attic tent can save the average home owner $18 per month or more.
Don’t Forget Indoor Air Quality
If energy savings isn’t motivation enough to consider an attic tent, what about improving your indoor air quality?
Insulation, dust, and mold can all wreak havoc on the air you breathe. Attic tents help “seal out” these unhealthy irritants and help improve indoor air quality.
Home Air Leak Sealing for Greater Dallas
DID YOU KNOW?… 40% of heat loss is due to air leakage, per the Department of Energy?
DID YOU KNOW?… One 1/8-inch air gap along the opening of a pair of 7-foot exterior doors is equivalent to leaving a window half open during the coldest night of the winter or the hottest day of the summer?
DID YOU KNOW?… A 1/2 inch round hole can carry as much as 50 cups of water through it over a course of a year? Increased moisture can lead to increased mold, bacteria and other health related problems.
Sources of Air Leaks: Why You Need Home Air Leak Sealing
- 31% Floors, Walls & Ceilings
- 15% Ducts
- 14% Fireplace
- 13% Plumbing Penetrations
- 11% Doors
- 10% Windows
- 4% Fans & Vents
- 2% Electric Outlets
Causes of Air Leakage
Air can leak by way of a building that isn’t effectively sealed. This loss of air cuts down on comfort of a property by permitting moisture, cool drafts, and undesirable sounds to get in. Indoor air quality is also compromised from increased dust and airborne pollution. Air loss can easily account for 25% of the energy utilized for heating and air conditioning in a typical household, determining the need for home air leak sealing.
The amount of air leakage in a house depends on two factors. The first is the number and size of air leakage paths through the building envelope. As shown in the figure (below), these paths include joints between building materials, gaps around doors and windows, and penetration for piping, wiring and ducts. The second factor is the difference in air pressure between the inside and outside. Pressure differences are caused by wind, indoor and outdoor temperature differences (stack effect), chimney and flue exhaust fans, equipment with exhaust fans (dryers, central vacuums) and ventilation fans (bath, kitchen).
Air sealing the building envelope is one of the most critical features of an energy efficient home. To prevent air leakage, it is best to seal the building envelope during construction prior to installation of the drywall. Once covered, many air leakage paths will be more difficult and costly to access and properly seal. A “blower door” test (included with a Home Energy Audit) is a good way to identify air leakage paths so that they can be sealed using an appropriate material.
The “Stack Effect” Causes Air Infiltration in Poorly Sealed Homes
Air infiltration is the poor movement of air in-and-out of structures, homes, buildings, chimneys, etc., it is referred to as the “stack effect.” This effect, also known as “the chimney effect,” is driven by buoyancy. Temperature and moisture differentials create a difference in indoor-to-outdoor air density, and result in a positive or negative buoyancy force. The greater the thermal difference and the height of the structure, the greater the buoyancy force, and this creates the stack effect.
The stack effect causes air infiltration in poorly sealed structures, homes, and buildings.
During the heating season, the warmer indoor air rises up through the building and escapes at the top either through open windows, ventilation openings, or through leakage. The rising warm air reduces the pressure in the base of the building, forcing cold air to infiltrate through either open doors, windows, or other openings and leakage. During the cooling season, the stack effect is reversed, but is typically weaker due to lower temperature differences.
Benefits of Air Sealing Your Home or Business
Properly air sealing the building envelope can provide many benefits including:
- Improved comfort. A tighter building envelope reduces the amount of unconditioned air, drafts, noise, and moisture that enter your home. Proper air sealing will also minimize temperature differences between rooms. As a result, tight envelopes can maintain a more consistent level of comfort throughout your home or business.
- Improved indoor air quality. A tighter building envelope reduces the infiltration of outdoor air pollutants, dust and radon as well as eliminating paths for insect infestation. Properly sealing the building envelope will also reduce moisture infiltration from outdoor air.
- Fewer condensation problems. Condensation can lead to mold and mildew problems. In hot, humid climates such as Dallas, TX, moisture can enter into wall cavities through exterior cracks and result in costly damage to structural framing and home insulation products. In cold climates, gaps in the interior walls allow moisture from warm indoor air to enter wall cavities and attics. This moisture can condense on cold surfaces and lead to structural damage. By significantly reducing air leakage, you can reduce or eliminate these problems.
Why Energy Savings is Important
It costs you extra money and employs much more power to cool your house than every other system in your house. Usually, 44% – 50% of your energy bill pays for cooling and heating your property. Whatever the kind of heating and air conditioning system you have at your residence, you’ll save your money as well as improve comfort by correctly maintaining and replacing your air conditioning and heating system. Remember that an energy efficient air conditioning system on it’s own won’t have as great of an effect on electric expenses as employing an approach that covers the whole house. When you mix proper HVAVC maintenance and upgrades such as attic insulation, attic ventilation and indoor air quality products, you are able to lower your energy expenses as much as 50% per year.
Energy Saving Tips:
- Use attic fans. Attic ventilation fans can remove unwanted hot air that accumulates in your attic. This can go a long way to help the efficiency and life expectancy of your heating and air conditioning equipment.
- Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer and low as comfortably possible in the winter. By maintaining a minimum difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, you’ll lower your overall cooling and heating bills.
- Don’t reduce your thermostat setting to a colder temperature than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. This “over-steering” will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.
- Consider using ceiling fans to help spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
- Keep lamps and TV sets away from your air conditioning thermostat.
- Shade air conditioning units by planting trees or shrubs, but make sure you do not block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses up to 10% less electricity than one operating in the sun.
- Close shades or drapes on east and west-facing windows during the hours when the sun’s intensity is at its peak. Open drapes and windows during early morning and overnight hours when the air outside the home is cooler.
- Don’t turn off the air conditioner and heater if the house will be unoccupied for an extended period of time. Instead use a programmable thermostat to turn air conditioning and heating equipment off and on automatically when you know the house will be unoccupied. (Heating and air conditioning equipment needs to run daily in order to keep moisture levels under control in your home)
- Also, do not use the ac and heating system’s central fan to provide circulation after you’re ac turns off unless it has a variable speed motor. Leaving the fan on after your air conditioner cycles off will allow the moisture on your evaporator coil to circulate back into your home, causing high humidity.
More Steps to Substantially Improve Your Home’s Energy Consumption
Take a holistic approach to total home energy conservation. To achieve the maximum in home comfort and energy savings, we recommend that you step back and look at the big picture of energy consumption in your home. The fact is your total home comfort and energy efficiency is the product of many systems: heating, air conditioning, attic insulation, plumbing and attic ventilation working together. It is the interplay between these systems, combined with the size, age, physical features and location of your home, and even your lifestyle, that combine to produce the overall energy efficiency of your home. Changing or upgrading one system, without considering the other factors will usually result in some improvement, but may not deliver the maximum possible benefit.
Make Sure Your Heating and Cooling System is Properly Sized
Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better- A bigger central air conditioning unit won’t necessarily make your home feel more comfortable during the hot summer months and will most likely perform less efficiently and less effectively than a smaller, properly sized unit. Central air conditioners and furnaces work better if they run for relatively long periods of time as opposed to being constantly switched on and off. The longer running time an air conditioner or furnace is allowed to run, the easier it is for the air conditioner and furnace to hold a more constant room temperature. Running longer will allow the air conditioner to remove more moisture from the air in your home, which reduces humidity and increases the comfort level in your home considerably. Always check heating and air conditioner equipment specifications carefully when choosing the right heating and cooling system for your home. Central air conditioning and heating systems require proper equipment sizing, installation, and maintenance in order to perform to factory specifications.
If you’re building a new home, considering a remodeling project, or maybe just looking to update your heating and cooling system, consider a holistic approach. It may cost a little more now, but will undoubtedly save you a bundle over time. Our highly skilled office staff, along with our HVAC technicians will always look at the big picture when designing the best energy savings solution for your home.
Energy efficiency continues to be on the minds of many Dallas area homeowners as well as national homeowners. Over a third of all home improvement projects are focused on some level of energy efficiency. Kozy Services is here to help increase the energy efficiency of your home, help you get started enjoying lower utility bills, and the peace-of-mind of a lower carbon footprint.