What is unsealed duct work?
As your heart needs arteries and veins for carrying blood around your body, similarly, your heating and AC equipment requires duct work to spread out the conditioned air throughout the house. However in most homes, roughly 20 to 30% of the air that flows through the duct work escapes into the attic or crawlspace depending on its location through leaks in your unsealed duct work and system. The unsealed or leaky duct work can causes many problems with your system and increases your bills dramatically. Sealing of ducts is extremely important, however the level of importance goes up, if the ducts are located in an unconditioned area such as an attic, garage or a crawl space.
What causes duct leakage?
• Harsh weather conditions in unconditioned air spaces, like our Dallas area 160 degree attics
• The ducts become torn & worn out from excessive use in long Texas summers
• Improper installation, Laying on attic floors, insufficient insulation and improper sizing
• Damage caused by insects, pests, rodents and contractors stepping, sitting or crawling over.
Disadvantages of unsealed ducts:
• Enormous waste of energy, since about 10-30% of the of an average unit’s output is wasted due to duct leakages which wouldn’t occur if ducts are sealed properly. Energy losses can also occur when the central furnace fan is not running or operational. There are five ways through which an unsealed duct causes energy losses:
– Conduction: Hot 160 degree attic air outside the poorly insulated or unsealed ducts heats the duct walls, which in turn causes the cold air inside the ducts to become warmer than it should, causing your unit to work longer and harder to cool your home
– Air leakage: At times, the cause of these air leaks could be damaged or poorly connected unsealed ducts that allow conditioned air to escape into the attic or crawlspace instead of going into your home.
– Leaky supply ducts: In this case, the supply ducts are leaking, but the return ducts are fully intact. This causes energy loss in two ways; the energy loss caused, which does not go into the rooms and/or extra amount of energy required to heat up the cold air that leaked inside the house.
– Leaky return ducts: This is the opposite case where the return ducts hot air in summer or cold air in winter to get pulled into the system while the supply ducts remain intact. Since the return ducts operate at a higher pressure than the house supply ducts or the outside, cold air or hot air depending on season from the outside surroundings is pulled into this return duct. What happens then is that this cold air along with the air that came into the house through return registers, is heated in the furnace, which causes an imbalance since the amount or air that came in the house through the supply ducts becomes greater than what the return ducts took away from the house. To balance it out, cold air is pulled in and warm air leaks out.
• Unsealed ducts allow dirty and unconditioned air to be pulled back inside the house causing the air around you, to become polluted and turning into a health hazard. This dirty air can also cause instill dangerous dusts and microbes which can lead to lung and respiratory diseases. Dirty air can cause the inside of your system to age and fail prematurely.
• The energy waste caused due to unsealed ducts means your system runs longer than it should
• Rooms become stuffy.
• High summer and winter utility bills.
• Indoor temperature variations.
• Decreases life of heating/cooling systems.
How to seal a duct?
Since the ducts are often located inside walls, garages, attics and basements- it becomes difficult to repair them, but there’s always something that you can do about a situation. Firstly, a thorough investigation is to be carried about the location and intensity of the duct leakage. You can either choose to seal the ducts inside your house, on your own, or you can hire a professional, such as Efficient Home Solutions, to do this for you.
Conclusion: Even when your unsealed ducts are not damaged or worn out, they can be a cause for air leaks which again leads to all the problems stated above, such as high energy consumption, health risks, increased electricity expenses, etc. Effective duct sealing has a direct impact on your wallet, health, as well as on the environment as a whole.
If you’ve ever ventured into your homes unconditioned attic during a typical Dallas Winter or Summer, you understand why builders, from an energy perspective, don’t think of an attic as part of the home. The hot, humid and stagnant air creates a climate, even my seasoned service engineers can’t work in for more than about 20 minutes at a time. In the Dallas Winter months, the attic can get down into the teens. In homes across the Dallas Metropolitan area, poorly sealed and grossly under-insulated attics are making homeowners uncomfortable in their homes, and in their wallets, by causing unnecessarily high utility bills year round. Efficient Home Solutions recommends a short visit to your attic with a measuring tape or ruler, a camera, flashlight and a partner for safety. Things to look at while in your attic:
- Attic floor insulation level – use a ruler or tape measure to determine your insulation level by placing it on the sheetrock under the insulation and measuring the average depth in inches. Tip-if you can see the floor joists (studs) you probably need more insulation. Take a picture of tape measure down inside insulation showing the depth so you can send it to us for discussion. You’ll also want to be certain the insulation you do have is not blocking or clogging your soffit vents and preventing good attic ventilation.
See the studs, more insulation is needed
12” is Minimum efficiency & 22” is Maximum
Soffit baffles maintain good attic ventilation
2. From a safe and secure spot look around your attic with attic the light off and flashlight off to see if you see light from inside the homecoming from unsealed openings in canned lights and utility openings. Take a picture with the flash OFF.
Unsealed canned lights, very inefficient.
Unsealed light, can’t be Insulated over.
Sealed lights can be insulated over.
3. Is the attic access opening you enter your attic through in a conditioned space? If your attic access opening is located in a closet or hallway in your home and it is not sealed, you might as well consider it to be an open door or window allowing a direct pathway for air to move between the unconditioned space (your attic) and the conditioned space(your home) 24 hours a day. When your home HVAC system is running, the return air openings will pull air into your home from these opening. Sealing this opening will make a major difference in your Comfort, Utility Bills, and Indoor Air Quality. Efficient Home Solutions recommends the Attic Tent. What is the Attic Tent? It is the ultimate solutions invented to seal attic stairs, scuttle holes, knee wall doors and full-size doors. It was primarily designed to stop cold or hot (depending on the season) attic air from infiltrating your home through these openings. These openings are considered to be most home hot spots for energy loss.
Since heat naturally travels from hot to cold areas, hot air will enter and leave a conditioned home through leaks and holes, the largest of which are usually in the attic. To slow heat transfer in the summer from the attic into the home and in the winter from the home into the attic the most effective method is to maintain a high level of attic insulation(R-60 or 22”) and to seal up the envelope of the home as much as possible.
Call Efficient Home Solutions today for assistance in evaluating how your home’s attic measures up.
Call today 972-235-2600
What is a Service Agreement?
To put it simply, a Service Agreement with Efficient Home Solutions provides you peace of mind. It’s critical to have your furnace or heating system checked before turning it on for the first time of the season, to ensure no harmful gasses are seeping into your home. Likewise, it’s equally important to have your air conditioner checked out before it needs to kick into high gear and cool your home on those blistering hot summer days we’re so fond of in North Texas. The last thing you want is for it to be 105 degrees and your system dies on you without notice! With a Service Agreement, you’re allowing us the opportunity to check both your heating and cooling system each year, to ensure both are running as efficiently as they should be. Service Agreements have the ability to save you time and money, particularly since an un-maintenanced system doesn’t last nearly as long as one that is serviced on a routine basis.
Do you change the oil in your car?
Did you know your HVAC system works harder for you than your car or truck? You probably don’t think about it, but your heating and cooling system probably runs 12-18 hours a day, now that’s a lot of work! Depending on how well your home is insulated and ventilated, it could be running substantially longer than that, just trying to keep your temperature stabilized! For the most part, we’re all pretty good at getting our oil changed every 3,000 or so miles, so why is it that the one piece of equipment that works the hardest for us, is so often neglected? The answer is simple, out of sight, out of mind. We typically only think about our HVAC system when it’s not keeping us as warm or as cold as we want it to, and by then it’s too late, there’s already a problem that needs to be fixed right away!
Common Misconceptions About Service Agreements
We hear often that “This is a new system, I don’t need any work done” or “I don’t need my HVAC system checked because it’s still under warranty”. Both of those might be true statements, however, a Service Agreement doesn’t mean we are making “repairs” on your system. What we’re doing is cleaning it, and checking for any potential issues that could cause it to break down, or not run as efficiently as it should. Think of it like the changing the oil scenario above, you change your oil to lessen the possibility of problems with your engine, having a Service Agreement to check your system twice a year also lessens the possibility of problems with your heating and cooling system that could end up being quite costly. We also hear “I have a home warranty that covers my HVAC system”. That’s great, we’re glad you’ve made that investment. However, did you know that if you don’t have your system serviced on a regular basis, it voids that warranty? Oh, and the home warranty company, they don’t provide that service for you, you still have to call a reliable heating and cooling contractor to take care of this for you. Not only does it void your home warranty, but it also voids the manufacturer warranty that comes with your unit, so think twice about skipping out on this valuable service!
Efficient Home Solutions isn’t Just a Name, it’s a Promise!
With routine maintenance, your HVAC system from Efficient Home Solutions will run for years to come. We take pride in our work and offer many solutions to keep you comfortable all year round. There are times when you don’t necessarily need a new system, but you’re lacking enough insulation in your home to create that buffer from the outside elements. For your convenience, we offer FREE Attic Energy Audits, so you know what you’re getting into and the best way to keep your home as comfortable as possible.
If you would like to maintain the quality of your heating and cooling system and longevity, then regular maintenance is of the utmost importance. Give us a call to schedule a 29-point Winter inspection today! 972-235-2600 You can save money while upgrading to a new, more energy-efficient home. For a limited time you can receive No Interest and No Payment Until 2017* Or Low Payment Option With 7.99% APR* from Lennox® on your purchase of a qualifying Home Comfort System. *Subject to credit approval. See dealer for complete details. Like Us On Facebook! Schedule an appointment online! WWW.EHSHVAC.COM
Summer is definitely one of the most exciting seasons of the year calling for trips to the beach, memorable vacations, and a large number of days spent by the pool. However, summers in North Texas can be scorching hot, making you wish you didn’t have to get out of the pool! The warm weather on beautiful sunny days definitely seems like a wonderful place to spend your summer, but handling the heat just might be the most difficult task. Surviving the hot days will be a very difficult task if you do not have an efficient HVAC system installed. Staying cool in the North Texas summer heat is definitely a challenge. We should all take time out and be thankful for an invention like air conditioners because they help us to stay cool during the hot summer days.
Our bodies require time to enjoy cool air and not be overheated. Even though spending time out in the sun can be exciting, staying cool is just as important. A few tips provided below can assist you in staying cool as well as helping you cut heat gain inside your home and reduce the cost of cooling by decreasing the load on your HVAC system in North Texas.
Doors and Windows
These are usually the most common sources of leaking air. You should look around for cracked windows to see if you need to make replacements. Check around for cracked or gaskets in your windows providing the required repairs to prevent any sort of hot air intrusions from ruining the coolness of your home.
You can prevent the heat outdoors from entering your glass doors and windows by installing ultraviolet filtering window films. This will help prevent the heat from tampering with the cool air that your AC blows out. You do not have to purchase any new windows or hire professionals to come install the film. The film is easily available in home supply stores and you can easily apply it to maintain the cool and relaxing environment in your house located in North Texas.
Better Circulation of Air
If you have a ceiling fan in your room, then you can turn it on while using your AC. This will help to improve the circulation of cool air in your home and keep you from feeling dehydrated. Using fans is an amazing tip and it will help to keep your home from becoming overheated.
Have Your HVAC System and Home Evaluated
How Can Our AC Service in Dallas Cut Your Indoor Air Temperatures by 35° And Your Energy Costs by 40% Per Month at the Same Time?
Well, for starters, it doesn’t matter how old your air conditioning system is…brand new or more than a decade. It could be installed wrong. A report by McKinsey & Company, a leading business consulting firm, found that “contractors install 90% of energy efficiency equipment sub-optimally,” and that it skyrockets your AC costs by “30 percent.”
The problem is most contractors offering AC repair in Dallas want to run you through their process so they can install a maximum efficiency AC system for you. We’re not saying that’s a dishonest approach, but it doesn’t address all the factors affecting your energy efficiency.
That could include using a simple solution like replacing your entire AC system. But it could also mean that:
- You don’t have the right size AC system installed for your home
- There’s not enough air returns throughout your house
- Your attic isn’t insulated at all, or its ability to insulate has slowly declined over the years due to natural settling or deterioration
- Your attic’s air envelope isn’t sealed properly
- Your attic isn’t ventilated well
The truth is we don’t know what’s best for your home’s air conditioning and energy efficiency until we take a closer look at it, so give us a call to schedule an appointment while we still have great financing terms at competitive rates! 972-235-2600
As a family-owned and operated company, Efficient Home Solutions understands the need for maximum home comfort during the holiday season – especially here in Dallas with this uncharacteristically cold winter we are having.
With the average Texan spending around $700 on gifts and goodies over the holidays, now is the perfect time to start saving on your energy bills.
The easiest way to cut your energy usage and spending? By ensuring your home’s heating system is operating safely and at peak efficiency with our Winter Special. Our 29-Point Heating System Inspection from the experienced HVAC professionals at EHS Dallas HVAC Repair gives you peace of mind during these cold winter nights. We’re offering this extensive heating system check-up (normally valued at $145) for just $49.