We have been talking a bit about the “stack effect” recently and why it is important to your house.
In case you have missed it, here it is in a nutshell.
Stack effect 101.
Think of your house as a chimney. Smoke (heat) rises up a chimney and out the top.
This is basically how your entire house works.
Heat rises from your lower floors, up through the house into the attic, then out through the vents in your attic.
As the warm air rises it has to be replaced by other air, outside air, to keep the entire process working, so new air is sucked into your house as a part of the cycle.
As the air passes through our houses we heat or cool it to a temperature in which we feel comfortable. If you live in a normal house that means it will be too cold for your wife in the summer, evened out by being too cold for your wife in the winter.
The ‘air in the house’ game is two-fold. One – where does the replacement air come from and B – how long can we keep the air that we have conditioned to our happiness in the house.
On the first part, if your house sits over a crawlspace the replacement air more than likely comes from that crawlspace. If your crawlspace is musty and yucky, then that musty and yucky air is being sucked up into your house to be conditioned and held onto.
If your house sits over a basement, and the basement is musty and yucky, your basement becomes the same as a crawlspace except with a beer fridge and a treadmill that hasn’t been used since 1988.
That is why I talk about getting your crawlspace encapsulated. Crawlspace encapsulation will put better air into your house from the git go.
You can do the same with your basement by running your hvac system and perhaps a dehumidifier.
If your house doesn’t sit over a crawlspace, then it is sucking in the warm, humid air from outside.
Either way, not good.
But let’s look at the other end too.
If your house has lousy insulation, or your windows and doors leak air, then your house won’t hold onto the air that you paid good money to warm or cool. That is not only a waste of money, but it can be a bad environment to live in as well.
Houses that do not hold their conditioned air very long, due to air leaks and/or poor insulation force their hvac systems to run longer and cost you more money to live in.
“So Dave”, you are asking, “what is my first move here?”
For me, I like to work from the top down.
Have a professional insulation company (check out the Experts page at TheHomeFixItPage.com) come out to your house and run an energy diagnostic test on your home. Many times those are free and will show you where the leaks are.
A lot of those leaks you can fix yourself – a caulk gun and maybe a ladder will fix the leaks that exist around each window and door.
(I don’t even know you but I would almost bet you have air leaks around your windows, almost guarantee it, and those you can fix yourself. Get paintable caulk and caulk around your windows inside your house and not just the part you can reach, do the whole window. Then paint. It’s that easy.)
Then follow the advice of your insulation pro.
After that have the crawlspace guys out to look that over (another free call, another listing at the Experts page on TheHomeFixItPage.com) and get that lined up.
I will even help you out. My next two posts will deal with insulation types, then what your crawlspace needs from you.