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75+ Ways To Lower Cooling Costs – Part 5 

Without Replacing Your HVAC System

(Most Of These Ways Also Lower Heating Bills)

©

This Is Part-5 Of Our Article — Click Here To Read Part-1: AlsPlumbing.com 75 Ways to Lower Cooling Costs Part-1

Lower Cooling Costs — 75+ Ways This is Part-5 Of Our Article About How To Lower Cooling Expense Without Replacing Your HVAC System. 

NOTE: Most Of These Efforts Also Lower Lower Heating Bills.

Al’s Plumbing, in Plano, Texas Provides Full-Service Plumbing; Maintenance, Repairs, and Replacements For Every Plumbing Component In Your Home. We sell and install gas and electric water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in; Murphy, TX; Rowlette, TX; and Wylie, Texas.  We service all homes in southern Collin County, TX, and northeastern Dallas County, TX with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s Today To Discuss Any Concerns Or Problems You Have With Your Home’s Plumbing. 

We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.

What’s Discussed In Part-5:

  •   8. Homeowner Actions that contribute to air leakage. 

8. Homeowner Actions That Increase Air Leakage The Most

  • Unlocked Windows.  Windows are notably more airtight when locked.

Source: https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/air-leakage-testing-garage-house-air-barrier

unlocked window with gap between sashes

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown:  That visible gap closes when the window is locked

When windows are locked — they are squeezed together by the lock itself.  When unlocked, a gap opens.  Windows are designed this way — to ensure the weatherstripping on top & bottom can bypass each other without touching (and creating needless wear).  Leaving windows unlocked creates an air leak the full width of the window.

Heat always travels toward cold — year-round.  All homes leak air — the older the home, the more air it leaks.  In winter, warm indoor air leaks into the attic anywhere there’s a gap or opening.  In summer hot attic air travels (from the attic) — into the cooling living space below.  This occurs at the same gaps & leaks in the ceilings.

In order for warm air to enter / exit the attic through the ceilings — outside air must leak into / out of the home.  The more leaks are sealed, the less air the home can leak.  Locked windows are an easy way to eliminate the air leak between the upper & lower windows.

TIP: A Side-Benefit: Locked Windows Reduce The Amount Of Outdoor Noise Getting Inside The Home.


Eliminating These Lowers Both Cooling & Heating Costs

  • Kitchen Bath Vents running when no longer needed.
  • Clothes Dryer running after clothes are dry.
  • A clothes dryer removes 100–225 cubic feet of air per minute.
  • A 2,000 square-foot home, with 8-foot ceilings, has 16,000 cubic feet of air.
  • A clothes dryer can remove all the air in the house — in just over 1 hour.
  • Then, the HVAC System must cool/heat all the air that replaced what the dryer removed.
  • Garage Door left open.  In a scientific test, +6% more air leaked into the home when the garage door was open PLUS garage air can contain carbon monoxide.

Pet Doors 

pet doorImage Source: Shutterstock

Shown: Pet Door

Click Here To See A Summertime Thermal-Image Of Heat Loss At A Pet Door: Pet Door Thermal Image

Note: Scroll Down To: “Animal Entry Doors”.

If The Link Doesn’t Work — Copy This Into Your Browser: https://scotthomeinspection.com/blower-door-test-common-air-leaks

The thermal-image shows the Pet Door yellow (warm) in a cool room (purple).

This image doesn’t consider air leaks, only thermal heat-loss through the Pet Door

Older pet-doors are typically notorious for leaking air.  Typically, they have a vinyl flap with a magnet at the bottom to help it close.  Most don’t have weatherstripping along the sides of the flap — and the magnet isn’t strong enough to stay closed on a windy day.

TIP: The Two Things You Can Do To Reduce Air Leakage At And Older Pet-Door — is keep the sliding panel closed — OR Update It with a new, weatherstripped version.

Click Just Below To Go To Part-4 Of Our Article discussing Weatherstripped, Modestly-Priced Pet-Doors (scroll down to that section).

AlsPlumbing.com Part-4


Wood-Burning Fireplace Damper Left Open — When Fireplace Not In Used

-OR- Has A Damaged Damper That Can’t Close Properly

wood burning fireplace

Image Source: Shutterstock

SHOWN: Wood-Burning Fireplace

Click Here To See A Photo Of A Correded Fireplace Damper — Left In Open Position

  • Wood-Burning fireplaces have a heavy metal damper above the firebox.
  • Once the fire is out, and the firebox is completely cooled, reclose the damper.
  • The required flue opening = 1/12th the size of the firebox’s opening (as seen from the room).
  • The largest (common) firebox opening = 60 x 32 x 25.   It requires a 16″ round flue.
  • With The Damper Left Open: Up to a 16-inch “hole” allows heat to rise out of the home 24/7 during winter.
  • That’s similar to leaving a small bathroom window open all the time.

Source: https://inspectapedia.com/chimneys/Fireplace_Flue_Size_Code.php

Opening/Closing Various Wood-Burning Fireplace Damper Styles

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video

Shown: A Properly Sealing Wood-Burning Fireplace Damper — In Closed Position


If a wood-burning fireplace’s damper is bent, warped or damaged (typically caused by high heat).

There’s a less expensive option to replacing the damper.

Cover A Wood-Burning Fireplace’s Damper With A Fireplace Balloon.

SOLUTION

SHOWN: Wood-Burning Fireplace Balloon

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

Click On Image To; See Product, Read Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com (directly from this site).

  • TIP: If you forget the ballon and start the fireplace — the ballon will melt (as a safety-feature).

NOTE: If You Have Gas Logs Installed In A Wood-Burning Fireplace — The Damper Must Be Left Open

-OR- When Not Using It, Turn The Gas Off  To The Logs & Close The Damper.

  • Most gas logs have a Pilot Light That Burns Continuously when gas (to the logs) is turned on.
  • The Pilot Light Creates Carbon Monoxide that enters your home non-stop if the damper is closed.

If You Have GAS Fireplace — With A Vertical Flue

  • It likely doesn’t have a damper — because of the pilot light burning all the time.
  • This allows heat to escape all the time.

SOLUTION — For When Fireplace Isn’t Being Used.

  • Turn The Gas OFF (to the fireplace).
  • Add a Fireplace Balloon to cover the flue.

TIP: If you forget the ballon and start the fireplace — the ballon will melt (as a safety-feature).

SHOWN: Gas Fireplace Balloon

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

Click On Image To; See Product, Read Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com (directly from this site).

NOTE: Gas Fireplace Balloons Are Smaller.  They might also work with a small wood-burning fireplace.  Measure flue opening to know which size you need.

 

If You Have GAS, Direct-Vent Fireplace

direct vent fireplace venting

Image Source: Shutterstock

SHOWN: Flue For Direct Vent Fireplace (comes through an exterior wall).

  • These Fireplaces Don’t Have A Damper  
  • Why?  A direct-vent fireplace’s (horizontal) flue is located directly behind the firebox (minimizes heat loss).
  • There’s no access to the flue opening — because of the gas logs in front of the flue.

TIP:  If you are considering installing a gas fireplace, a Direct-Vent model reduces air leakage — as compared to a gas fireplace with a vertical flue.


Here Are Two Tools That Provide An Easy Way To

Identify Air Leaks And/Or Missing Insulation

A Temperature Reader

TIP:  You Can Purchase A Temperature-Reader At A Modest Cost.  It Offers An Easy Way To Spot Temperature Differences — Due To Air Leaks And/Or Missing Insulation.

NOTE: This Was The Best Rated Thermal-Leak Detector  (sold on Amazon) When This Article Was Written.

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN:  Black & Decker Thermal-Leak Detector.

Click On Image To; View Product, Read Details, or Purchase from Amazon.com

TIP: This Device Can Be Pointed Directly At Areas Where Leaks Are Possible AND/OR Pointed At Walls & Ceilings — To Determine If Insulation Is Missing.


-OR-

A Thermal-Image Device

Click Here To See A Thermal-Image Identifying Missing Insulation:  Thermal-Image Shows Missing Insulation

NOTE: This Was The Least Expensive Thermal-Image Device (sold on Amazon) When This Article Was Written.

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN: NOYFA Thermal-Image Device.

Click On Image To; View Product, Read Details, or Purchase from Amazon.com

TIP: This Device Can Be Pointed Directly At Areas Where Leaks Are Possible AND/OR Pointed At Walls & Ceilings — To Determine If Insulation Is Missing.



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75+ Ways To Lower Cooling Costs – Part 5 

Without Replacing Your HVAC System

(Most Of These Ways Also Lower Heating Bills)

This Is Part-5 Of Our Article — Click Here To Read Part-4: AlsPlumbing.com 50 Ways to Lower Cooling Costs Part-4

Lower Cooling Cost — 75+ Ways.  This is Part-5 Of Our Article About How To Lower Cooling Expense Without Replacing Your HVAC System.   This part is focused on; Outdoor air leaking into the home, Homeowner actions that contribute to higher cooling & heating costs, Testing a home for air leakage, and Attic & Wall Insulation levels in Texas homes over the years. 

Al’s Plumbing, in Plano, Texas Provides Full-Service Plumbing; Maintenance, Repairs, and Replacements For Every Plumbing Component In Your Home. We sell and install gas and electric water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in; Murphy, TX; Rowlette, TX; and Wylie, Texas.  We service all homes in southern Collin County, TX, and northeastern Dallas County, TX with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s Today To Discuss Any Concerns Or Problems You Have With Your Home’s Plumbing. 

We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.