Attic - Walls - Floors - Basement - Crawl Space - Insulation
Jun082016

What Causes a Hot House in the Summer?

Published by Admin at 9:33 AM under Blog

Every summer we get a lot of calls from people who are having comfort issues in their home, usually on the second floor. Many homeowners find that even with the air conditioner blasting, only the lower level of the home will get cool, leaving the second story so hot that it’s uninhabitable

Homeowners tend to blame the AC unit for the hot house issues, but we find that it’s often a problem with the house itself. 

 

Hot house issues can be caused by a variety of things, such as:

 

·       Poor Thermal Boundary (Insulation and air seal)

·       Not enough supply air coming through the force air registers. 

·       Poor attic ventilation (roof vents)

·       Dark roof color

 

Let's break it down a bit:

 

The Thermal Boundary is the shell of the house. The “shell” or “envelope” consists of the Attic, Walls, Basement, Floors and Crawl Space. More than 90% of the attic spaces in US homes are under insulated and poorly sealed. This is exacerbated during the summer months because your attic space can easily reach over 140 degrees for most of the day. You need plenty of the right kind of insulation and an airtight seal to combat these kinds of extreme temperatures.

 Next we have possible issues with the air supply. The actual AC may be functioning well, but it could be fighting an uphill battle, so to speak. Most air handlers (Furnace/AC fan) are in the basement and therefore have to push air all the way up to the second floor. In order to reach the second story, the air has to pass through multiple turns (elbows) and travel a long distance, causing a decrease in air pressure (CFM). The air that ends up coming out of the second story vents generally comes out with substantially diminished air pressure. If you toss in issues with your Thermal Boundary, your HVAC system has very little hope in keeping your home cool, no matter how much you blast the AC.

In summer we get a lot of calls from people who are having comfort issues upstairs. They have a 1 1/2 or 2 story home and can't keep the upstairs areas cool. We see many cases where the second floor is uninhabitable much of the time. 

 

Things to consider:

Thermal boundary - If the "shell" of your home isn't properly air sealed, even the best air conditioners couldn't keep your home cool. Consider hiring a professional to do a blower door test to see if your home is leaking conditioned air. 

 

HVAC- Is your HVAC system up to date? Have you had your Air Conditioner cleaned recently? Something as simple as cleaning out the vents can make a huge difference in the temperature in your home. 

Attic ventilation is a huge problem for many homes. It is essential to have plenty of the right kind of roof vents to properly cool the attic space. Remember, that space can top 140 degrees in the hot summer months.  Ideally, the attic would have 1 square foot of ventilation for every 300 square feet of attic space, split 50/50 between the top and bottom of the area. Most homes don’t meet this standard.

If you believe your attic is one of the many that don’t meet the standards, give us a call. If it’s not possible to retrofit your current roof vents, we can use mechanical vents that are either hard wired into your house power, or better yet, solar-powered.

 

Roof color might not seem like it could have a huge impact, but consider this – on a hot summer day, would you rather stand in the sun in a black T-shirt or something with a lighter shade? Your roof functions in the same way. The shade/color of your roof can make a big difference in the temperature of the attic space, darker colors can soak up heat and trap it in your home. It might not be cost-effective to completely redo your roof, but it’s something to keep in mind for when you do any updates in the future.

 

 

All summer long, we get calls from people who are sweating in their homes and paying way too much on their energy bills. We have an excellent track record for finding successful solutions for each individual home. Give us a call and let us help!

314-884-0092

 

 

 


May062015

Hot House in the Summer? Here's Why!

Published by Rease at 12:49 PM under Blog

 

We get a lot of calls during the summer months from people who are having comfort issues in their home. They complain that certain parts of the home are warmer than others. Many times we hear stories of homes where people cannot inhabit certain parts of their house due to the unbearable temperatures. We also hear that they set their thermostats at 70 or 72 degrees and the house never cools below 78 or 80; forcing the air conditioner to run continuously. So even with a hot home, these home owners are still receiving extra high  bills.

 
We find most of these problems are occurring in homes that are 1 1/2 stories or 2 stories. The second floor is usually the culprit. They often tell us that the inside temperature rises as much as 10 degrees from the first to the second floors.
 

Here are a few of the things we check:

 
Roof
  • What is the color of the roof? Darker colored roofs tend to radiate more heat. 
  • Is there any shading benefit from shade trees?
  • Is the roof is properly ventilated?
Attic (Including side attics)
  • What kind of insulation and how much?
  • Has the attic been air sealed?
 
The solutions usually include air sealing measures in the attic spaces, additional insulation and additional ventilation. Installation of Solar powered attic ventilators are trending well with homeowners that are having comfort issues upstairs.  
 

Don't spend the summer sweating indoors

If your home is constantly hot no matter how high you crank your air conditioner, your home is not running efficiently. If you don't address these problems, you'll spend the summer avoiding particularly hot areas of your home, sweating through the night, and paying extremely high energy bills. 
 
Give us a call and let us make a plan to make your home more comfortable and more efficient.
Affordable Comfort of Missouri and Illinois
(314) 209-8700

 


Jan212013

How to Be Energy Efficient

Published by Rease at 5:42 PM under Blog

There are so many ways to improve your home, whether it is during new construction or after construction has been completed. There are simple, inexpensive ways to make your home more efficient, which will not only save you money on your utility bills, but also minimize your carbon footprint. Here are a few tips on how to be energy efficient.
 

Let's break it down.

The four basic categories we need to look at are: insulation, air sealing, HVAC, and baseload. We'll take a look at what we can do to help, as well as what you can do on your own. All these steps will get you well on your way to a more energy efficient home with lower utility bills.
 

Insulation and Air Sealing

Over the past 20 years, Affordable Comfort has made over 10,000 homes more energy efficient. Of those 10,000, we can count on one hand how many houses had the proper amount of insulation installed before we began working on them. Chances are, your home could use a serious insulation update. The issue is, building codes are not really up to par with what would make your home energy efficient. The builders rarely want to go the extra mile and spend the extra money to provide your home with quality insulation.
 
It's the same story for air sealing. You may notice that certain areas of your home are draftier than others. Many people write this off as something that cannot be helped, but that is far from true. If you invest in updating the insulation and air sealing in your attic, you will feel an immediate difference in your home's comfort level. Plus, you'll see lower bills within the first billing cycle after your repairs.
 
Band sill insulation is another area of your home that has a very high return on investment. Band sills are the set of boards that sit on top of a foundation wall and run around the house. To better insulate band sills, we use a closed-cell 2-part spray foam insulation.
 

HVAC

 

HVAC equipment often comes with the home and simply sits there until it ceases to work. Just because your air conditioner, heater, water heater, etc is functioning, does not mean it is functioning efficiently. HVAC equipment generally has an expiration date of around 20 years, so if you are nearing that mark, you should take a look at how your equipment is functioning. You may want to consider updating appliances early and switching to something with the Energy Star logo, which guarantees a more energy-friendly system. If you don't have the extra room in the budget to replace everything at once, start replacing one or two appliances per year. The return on investment you see from the new Energy Star rated appliances will most certainly help fund any further updates.
 

What is baseload?

 

 Baseload is any energy use outside of heating and cooling. Basically, this is the amount of energy you use in your home during the months that neither your air conditioner nor heater is in use. Things such as refrigerators, lighting, small appliances and water heating are combined to create your baseload. Lowering your baseload will, of course, lower your energy use overall, so it's a good idea to take steps towards lowering it. The good news? Lowering your baseload is easy to do on your own.
 
Once again, switching to Energy Star rated appliances will be a huge help. You can also install energy efficient lighting in place of incandescent light bulbs. In fact, this will soon be mandated and incandescent light bulbs will cease to be manufactured, so you might as well switch over now. To save on water heater costs, you can lower your water heater by a few degrees and install low-flow showerheads and faucets. You will most likely barely notice a difference in your showers, but you will be saving a significant amount of money on water and water heating costs. Even installing a simple insulation blanket around your water heater will have a noticeable impact on efficiency.
 

What else can you do?

Outside of lowering your baseload, you can also make some simple air sealing changes to help keep conditioned air within your home. Visit your local hardware store and pick up some sealing supplies, then seal up your windows and doors throughout your home. You'll notice that the air near these windows are doors will feel similar to the air in the rest of your home. The sealing keeps the conditioned air in, and the outside air out.
 
If you are serious about becoming more energy efficient and aren't sure where to begin, give us a call. We can come out to your home and perform an energy audit that will let you know exactly where your home stands, as well as make recommendations. No obligations. Give us a call at 314-209-8700 or send us an email at info@affortablecomfort.biz.