Do You Know What Dust Bunnies Indicate?

Monday, February 20th, 2017 by Joy Padgett

Warm air moves to where cold air is present unless it cannot move into those cooler areas. And since most homes are not sealed well, the air inside your house is constantly being replaced by air coming from outside your house, through an attic, or crawlspace or basement. When one of our Home Comfort Specialists comes to meet with you, he will be bringing some really cool machines and tools with him to help him locate areas where air is coming into your home. But while most homeowners, like you, don’t have these tools in their tool shed, you can still see some indications of air leakage issues in your home, even before we arrive.

You’re ahead of me, aren’t you? You’ve already figured out that the presence of dust bunnies, or cobwebs, are great indicators of air leakage areas. Cobwebs are formed where air currents are present. For example, if you notice cobwebs in the corners of a room, you will probably find trim work that hasn’t been caulked or a crack in the drywall seams. These small gaps or cracks allow air from one level to move to another level. Dust particles are carried on this air current and stick together to form dust bunnies….or cobwebs…dust bunnies sounds much cuter, though.

Dust bunnies

You might be surprised to know that dust bunnies congregate in much larger numbers in areas you may not ever explore. The photo above shows the space between floor joists (indicated by blue arrows) in an attic. This customer had added some plywood flooring in one part of the attic (indicated by yellow arrow). You can see just how large the dust bunny is (as indicated by red arrow).

Now, knowing that the transfer of air causes dust bunnies to form in certain areas, you can expand on that and understand that your house is leaking! Conditioned air (either heated or cooled air) is moving into unconditioned spaces like your attic….areas you do not inhabit. Expanding even further, you can understand how this phenomena is causing certain rooms in your house to be too hot or too cold. This also means your HVAC system is probably running longer and more frequently than it should, since your warm air is constantly leaking into your attic and is being replaced by cool air that now needs to be heated up.

Those dust bunnies aren’t so cute anymore, are they? So, how do you reduce the presence of dust bunnies? The answer is simple, but not always easy to accomplish….you air seal. Air sealing is the process of closing up the gaps and cracks in your home that are allowing an air current. It may sound like a simple solution, but it often requires a knowledgeable and skilled person to accomplish it on a scale large enough for you to notice. We use special products and processes to seal up these areas depending on the location and size of the leak.

Weatherization Plus would be more than happy to meet with you to uncover areas in your home where you are losing conditioned air. Call us today!

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