Hot Attic? Hot House?
infrared image of an attic showing the hot spots
is your HVAC working overtime in the heat of the summer?
What our clients and colleagues have to say:
"If you have a leaky house call them. They can cut your energy cost if you allow them to come and take a look at why your energy cost are so high. It pays for itself. Very professional also. Worth the call."
Steve R./Houzz.com review
"My electric bill is 50% less now, after Responsible House."
"Cut my bill in half."
"Best money ever spent."
From the day you make the decision to crank on the AC, you are paying to cool all of the air in the conditioned parts of your house (building envelope). Depending on the performance of your home, you may be paying to do that every few hours. When we complete a blower door analysis one of the things we learn is how many air exchanges per hour your building envelope has with the outside air. How many hours does it take for the entire air volume of your home to escape and be replaced with hot, unconditioned air? Sadly, what we see on average is every 2 or 3 hours. For comparison, when we build a house, the answer is once every 24 to 40 hours.
HVAC Equipment Under Stress
If your air conditioning unit is in your attic the Stack Effect is making this scenario even worse. Hot air is rising to your attic and putting immense pressure on your system. If your attic is the typical 140 degrees in summer and your HVAC unit is cooling air to 72 degrees, that is a 68 degree differential!!! - which is making your unit work a LOT harder. Your unit is using more energy to work against this pressure from its environment. Having an energy audit and retrofit will put your HVAC equipment in a much more hospitable environment, which will help it use less energy and retain the conditioned air you already paid to cool down.
Aside from your actual unit, the ducts in your attic are also being heated up by the 140 degree air surrounding them. If they have any leaks in them, the 140 degree air is more than happy to seep in, invade and warm up the air you just paid to cool down. That 72 degree air, that you paid for your overheated HVAC unit to cool down, is never going to make to you.
Even if your HVAC unit is not in the attic, there are still plenty of ways for your energy dollar to be wasted in the summer. In the warm months, your air envelope is no longer trying to escape because hot goes to cold. That might sound like good news, but that feeling dissipates when you hear the bad news...the hot air outside is coming through those same holes in your house and warming up your conditioned air. The laws of thermodynamics must be obeyed and that hot air outside will work hard to invade your house. Your now superheated attic is putting pressure below your top plane because it wants to seep into the cooled air in your house. If your top plane is not air sealed, it will be able to quickly push your cooled air back outside.
Locating your leaks occurs during our 11-step home energy audit. Once we've located the problems through discussions with the homeowner, extensive examination of the structure of the home and our diagnostic equipment, we complete a written analysis of your home's performance. This includes solutions we offer and the price point for each step. You are then able to hire us to implement all the fixes at once or spread them out over time. Now your money is going towards increasing the value of your home and not to the utility companies!