If It's Not Your HVAC System, What Is It?

Monday, February 13th, 2017 by Joy Padgett

We have had several customers contact us after an HVAC company checked their system and told them the system was functioning properly. Why are they calling us? Because their home is still uncomfortable or they are still experiencing the woes of high utility bills and furnaces that run constantly and don’t know what else could be causing their problems.

While having your HVAC system checked and maintained is very important, it isn’t always the reason a home is not comfortable or utility bills are high. More often than not the culprits are leaky duct systems, poorly sealed attics, unsealed crawl spaces or basement and inadequate insulation.

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Leaky Duct Systems

If your duct system is leaky, or if runs have become detached from vents, you are heating and cooling your attic, crawlspace or unfinished basement, depending on where the ducts are located. Unfortunately, houses are known to settle as they age. This settlement can cause the seams in your duct work to weaken and separate. Movement inside your attic or crawlspace or basement (from accessing storage space, or from unwanted critters) can cause ducts to become disconnected from the vents. This means your heated air is not actually being transferred to the rooms you want it to heat.

Poorly Sealed Attics

If your attic isn’t sealed properly, the air you have paid to heat your home, is now going out the roof. There could be wall termination points that haven’t been capped off, electrical and plumbing penetrations that haven’t been sealed and other areas inside your attic that are allowing your heated air to move from your living space into the attic. This air is then leaving the attic through the aforementioned areas. That leads to your furnace running for longer periods of time as it tries to keep with the heat being lost through the attic.

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Unsealed Crawlspaces or Basements

Just like attics, crawlspaces and basements have areas within them that probably haven’t been sealed properly….or maybe not at all. Rim joists are notoriously unsealed as are crawlspace and basement ceilings. Plumbing and electrical penetrations are also largely left open. What this means is that outside air is getting into your house through the crawl or basement and from there is being transferred into your living area via these unsealed areas. And, once again, that means your furnace is working harder than it should to keep your house at the predetermined temperature.

Inadequate Insulation

Finally, inadequate insulation in walls, floors and attics contributes to furnaces working overtime to keep your house at the desired temperature. Insulation, in the appropriate quantities, helps keep your heated air inside your living area, not in unused attics, crawl spaces or unfinished basements. If your house doesn’t have enough insulation, your furnace has to work harder to keep the house warm.

In conclusion, we can understand now just how the HVAC system isn’t always the culprit behind uncomfortable homes. Flaws in these other components are much more likely to be the factors behind a home being uncomfortable. But, don’t forget this very important piece of information…..Weatherization Plus is in the business of Fixing Uncomfortable Homes!!

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