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75+ Ways To Lower Cooling Expense (& Heating) – Part 6

Without Replacing Your HVAC System

(Most Of These Ways Also Lower Heating Bills)

©

This Is Part-6 Of Our Article — Click Here To Read Part-1: AlsPlumbing.com Lower Cooling Costs – Part 1

Lower Cooling Expense — 75+ Ways.  This is Part-6 Of Our Article About How To Lower Cooling Expense (& Heating) 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.

Part-6 Discusses:

  • 9. Testing The Entire Home For Air Leakage (does not include ductwork leakage test).
  • 10-A. TEXAS — Insulation Levels Required — By Year.
  • 10-B. International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) — Insulation Levels Required — By Year.

Note: Most states’ Building Codes match IECC.

  • 11. Only For Homes Built In 2012 Or Later — Mechanical Ventilation To Ensure Safe Indoor Air Quality.
  • 12. Radiant-Heat Barrier In Attic — What, Where & How To Install For; Northern, Central, and Southern States (product & installation varies by location). 

9. Testing The Entire Home For Air Leakage

Sealing Air Leaks Will Notably Lower Cooling Expense (& Heating). 

Sealing Begins With Finding The Leaks.

NOTE: This Section Applies TO: PRE-2012 HOMES In Most U.S. States. 

NOTE: This Section Applies TO: PRE-2017 TEXAS Homes 

  • In 2021, Texas adopted the: Texas Building Energy Performance Standards — based on the 2020 IECC Code + 2021 IECC Amendments.
  • Starting Jan 1, 2013 — The U.S. Adopted the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
  • The 2012 IECC began requiring new homes to be Blower Door Tested for air leakage.
  • Homes must pass the test — before an Occupancy-Permit will be issued.

TEXAS:

  • 2021 –– Adopted The Texas Building Energy Performance Standards — based on the 2020 IECC Code + 2021 Amendments.
  • November 1, 2016 –Texas Adopted The 2015 IECC.
  • Effective 11/1/2016 — New homes in Texas must pass a Blower-Door Test.  To pass the test, the homes’ air leakage must be notably low.

Source: http://bcapcodes.org/code-status/state/texas/

Source: https://eepartnership.org/program-areas/energy-codes-2/energy-codes/energy-codes-in-state-law/major-changes-overview/

blower door test

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: Temporary “Blower-Door” — Tests A Home For Air Leaks & Air-Leakage Rate.

Air Pressure Effects:

  • Air always flows from a high-pressure area toward a low-pressure area.
  • On The Side Of The Home Facing The Wind: Outdoor Air is at a higher pressure than indoor air.  This causes air to enter the home through air leaks.
  • On The Side Of The Home Opposite The Wind: Outdoor Air is at a lower pressure than indoor air.  This causes air to exit the house through air leaks.

** Source: https://basc.pnnl.gov/information/building-science-introduction-air-flow

A Blower-Door Test creates a vacuum inside the house.

  • The blower-door test replicates a 20 mph wind blowing on 1 side of the home.

During the Blower-Door Test — Most Air Leaks Become Readily Visible:

  • Particularly at windows and exterior doors.
  • If you put your hand in front of electrical outlets — you’ll feel air entering through them as well.

Places Where Air Leaks Are Less Noticeable:

  • Light Fixtures (unless your hand is near the fixture).
  • Under the wood trim where the walls meet the floor.
  • Inside kitchen & bath sinks cabinets (there are often air leaks where the water & sewer pipes come through the wall).

The goal of the Blower-Door Test is to identify places where a home is leaking air.  

  • With those locations identified — air-sealing efforts can be focused wherever they will have the biggest impact.
  • It also eliminates air-sealing efforts that will have little impact.

The Blower-Door Test Result Divided By 20 = Air Changes Per Hour Due To Natural Air Leakage ACH.

TIP: Expect Realistic Results When Air Leaks Sealing 

Air Sealing an older home won’t make it nearly as airtight as a newer home.  Newer homes are built much differently than older homes.  Since 2012 Federal Mandate requires a home must exchange 1/3 of indoor air with outdoor air each hour — in order to maintain safe indoor air quality.

Why The 2012 Mechanical Ventilation Mandate Came About

  • New homes built during the few years prior to 2012 — had become too airtight.
  • They did not exchange enough air to ensure safe Indoor Air Quality.
  • A common term at that time was: “Sick Building Syndrome” (SBS) — because overly airtight homes & buildings were making occupants sick due to indoor pollutants buildup.

Sick Building Syndrome Indicators:

  • Occupants experience symptoms such as; headache, eye, nose, or throat irritation, dry cough, dry/itchy skin.
  • The cause of the symptoms is not known.
  • Most occupants felt better soon after leaving the building.

A Common Cause Of SBS: Inadequate Ventilation.

  • Prior to the Oil Embargo of 1973: Building Ventilation Called for 15 Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM) — for each occupant.
  • After the 1973 Oil Embargo: National Energy Conservation Measures reduced 15 CFM to 5 CFM.
  • To have acceptable Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) — the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) revised the ventilation standard back to 15 CFM.

** Source: https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2014-08/documents/sick_building_factsheet.pdf


10. Texas Homes Attic & Wall Insulation Levels — By Year(s)

Adding Attic Insulation Is One Of The Most Effective Ways To Lower Cooling Expense (& Heating).

measuring insulation level in attic

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: Blown Fiberglass Insulation Installed In An Attic

As of 2021, Texas insulation requirements match the most current International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).    Additionally, many existing homes had attic insulation added.  Some have added wall insulation.  Fewer homes have added wall insulation — because installing wall insulation requires more effort and cost than adding attic insulation.

  • TEXAS Attic Insulation Required        TEXAS WALL Insulation Required
  • As late as 1964: None                                   None
  • 1965-1970:          R-13 (3.5″ BATT)              R-6 (2″ BATT)
  • 1970’s:                  R-19 (6″ BATT)                 R-6  (2″ BATT)     *3
  • 1980’s:                 R-30 (9″ Blown)                R-13 (3.5″ BATT) *4
  • 2014:                    R-38 (15″ Blown)               R-15                        *5
  • 2021:                    R-49 (20″ Blown) *6         R-20                       *6
  • R-49 is achieved with 20″ of Blown Fiberglass Insulation.
  • NOTE: The Average R-value of 1″ of Blown Fiberglass Insulation = R-2.5
  • NOTE: If there’s existing BATT insulation — less blown insulation needs to be added to achieve R-Values shown above.

To Create R-20 With 2×4 Walls

  • 3.5″ High-Density Fiberglass Batts Insulation = R-15

Plus

  • 1″ Rigid Foam-Board Insulation Sheathing (on home’s exterior) = R-5

TIP:  Air won’t pass through rigid foam-board sheathing.  Taping the seams — creates a well-air-sealed home.

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Liink

Shown: Tuck Tape (brand) Epoxy-Resin Sheathing Tape

Click On Image TO: View Product, Read Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com (directly from our site)


R-Value Of Fiberglass Batt Insulation Commonly Installed In Texas Attics Over The Years:

  •    3.5″ Batt = R-13
  •     6″ Batt = R-19
  • Once R-30 was required most home builders began using blown fiberglass insulation only.  Average R-Value for blown insulation = R-2.5 per 1 inch.
  •   10″ Batt = R-30
  •   12″ Batt = R-38
  • *3 Source: https://snuggpro.com/blog/item/many-homes-built-prior-to-1980-were-built-without-insulation-in-the-walls
  • *4 Source: https://www.jlconline.com/how-to/insulation-code-change_o
  • *5 As required by the 2012 Edition of the International Building Code (IBC
  • *6 https://www.energycodes.gov/sites/default/files/2021-02/2021_IECC_Residential_Webinar_presentation_slides.pdf
  • *6 http://bcapcodes.org/code-status/state/texas/
  • Over time, blown fiberglass insulation may settle a little. 
  • It’s not uncommon for workers to kick blown insulation out of their way while working in the attic.

Texas Current Building Code For ATTIC Insulation = R-49.

  • R-49 is achieved with 20″ of Blown Fiberglass Insulation.
  • NOTE: If there’s existing BATT insulation — less blown insulation is required.

TIPS:

  • Heat travels toward cold — year-round.
  • If you’re adding insulation — attic insulation increases comfort & savings more than wall insulation.

Source: https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/


In The Southern U.S.

In the southern U.S. — Adding Attic Insulation Can Notably Reduce Cooling Expense.  It will reduce heating expenses — though not as much as cooling, due to milder winters.

sunny dat

Image Source: Shutterstock

During Summer In The Sothern U.S.

  • Attic temperatures can reach as high as 170 degrees.
  • That’s Up To A 100-Degree Difference for a home kept at 70 degrees.
  • Heat from the attic forces itself through ceilings — into the cooler living space below.
  • Cooling seasons are longer.
  • For Walls: +100 Degree day creates a +30 Degree Difference for a home kept at 70 degrees.

Click Here To See An Infrared Image Of An Attic Showing 170 Degrees: Infrared Image Shows Attic At 170 Degrees

If The Link Doesn’t Work — Copy This Into Your Browser:  https://www.google.com/search?q=infrared+image+showing+attic+temperature&sxsrf=ALiCzsYHchsi_Dxb9XUnKAAKRzaImzgJsw:1652716005537&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&vet=1&fir=aoaDimsWYmvhcM%252CeWNSRxlfPLQPzM%252C_%253BeUXOJJz5l6i9MM%252C-QIIC-UD_bvosM%252C_%253BHRQxS1nAnI_oEM%252C9r6XYt2frWEQIM%252C_%253BqU_gN0QaqlqmOM%252C-QIIC-UD_bvosM%252C_%253BcMP6wcamq47mKM%252CQcpOz8Zhcke6IM%252C_%253Bb764Xqn0i-H09M%252C9r6XYt2frWEQIM%252C_%253BIOiQw_Mjt-r14M%252Copr2X61IzL00MM%252C_%253Bw0311yjlb61w0M%252C-QIIC-UD_bvosM%252C_%253BrDhWGgGdl9ptZM%252CHyrU8f5HUndm6M%252C_%253B3qkzorCIHslCSM%252CNIPmnNM24HfgXM%252C_&usg=AI4_-kTg1__ozMweSObRA2Y9VqBq7D0OBQ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjsuLLzruT3AhUylmoFHcN_AcAQ9QF6BAgFEAE#imgrc=aoaDimsWYmvhcM

In The Northern U.S. 

In the northern U.S. — Adding Attic Insulation Reduces Cooling Expense Somewhat.  It Reduces Heating Expenses Notably More, Due To Colder Winters.

snow on trees

Image Source: Shutterstock

During Winter In The Northern U.S.

  • Outdoor temps below freezing are common AND below 0 degrees aren’t rare.
  • Because nearly all attics are ventilated — attic temp is only slightly warmer than outdoors during the day.  Attic & outdoor temp will be similar during darkness.
  • Heat from the living space rises into the attic.
  • Heating seasons are longer.
  • For Walls: At -10 Degrees, there’s an 80-Degree Difference for a home kept at 70 degrees.

International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) 

Attic & Wall Insulation Requirements

Because improvements to Home Building Materials & Home Building Practices are constantly improving — The IEEC is updated every 3 years.   Below is the IECC history for Attic & Wall Insulation Requirements since 2006.

 Climate Zones (CZ) Shown Represent Climate “Bands” (south to north).

Click On This Link To See The IECC Climate Zone (CA) Map2022 IECC Climate Zones (CZ) Map

If Link Doesn’t Work — Copy this into your browser: https://basc.pnnl.gov/images/climate-zone-map-iecc-2021

Attic & Wall Insulation Requirements Of The International Energy Conservation Code (IEEC) Over The Years

NOTES:

  • Nearly all states base their Building Codes on IECC.
  • Some states don’t adopt IECC requirements immediately.   For this reason, an individual State may have lower insulation requirements than IECC.

IECC Attic Insulation Requirement:                                            IECC WALL Insulation Requirement:

2006  R-30 in CZ 1-4 // R-38 CZ5 // R-49 CZ 6-8                              R-13 CZ 1-4 // R-19 CZ 5-6 // R-21 7 & 8

2009  R-30 in CZ 1-4 // R-38 CZ5 // R-49 CZ 6-8                              R-13 CZ 1-4 // R-19 CZ 5-6 // R-21 7 & 8

2012  R-30 in CZ1 // R-38 CZ2-3 // R-49 CZ 5-8                                 R-13 CZ1-2 // R-20 CZ 3-5 //  R-25 CZ 6-8 ^ increased

2015  R-30 in CZ1 // R-38 CZ2-3 // R-49 CZ 5-8                                 R-13 CZ1-2 // R-20 CZ 3-5 //  R-25 CZ 6-8

2018 R-30 in CZ1 // R-38 CZ2-3 // R-49 CZ 5-8                                  R-13 CZ1-2 // R-20 CZ 3-5 //  R-25 CZ 6-8

2021 R-30 in CZ0-1 // R-49 CZ2-3 // R-60 CZ 4-8  ^ increased      R-13 CZ0-2 // R-20 CZ 3 //  R-25 CZ 4-8  ^ increased — zones changed

Source: https://codes.iccsafe.org


R-Values Of Standard-Density + High-Density Fiberglass Batts & Injection-Foam Insulation

fiberglass batt insulation for wall

Image Source: Shutterstock

Note: A “2 x 4” board is actually 1.5″ x 3.5″.

  • 3.5″ // R-13 fiberglass batts — are designed to fit in exterior walls framed with 2×4.
  • 3.5″ // R-15 High-Density fiberglass batts.
  • 3.5″ // R-16 Injection Foam Insulation.  (Note: 1″ Of Injection Foam= R-4.5). *
  • 6″ Standard-Density Insulation — Compressed Into A 3.5″ thick wall = R-14 (+R-1).

Note: A “2 x 6” board is actually 1.5″ x 5.5″.

  • 6″ // R-19 fiberglass batts — are designed to fit in exterior walls framed with 2×6.
  • 6″ // R-26 High-Density fiberglass batts.
  • 5.5″ // R-25 Injection Foam Insulation.  (Note: 1″ Of Injection Foam= R-4.5). *

* NOTE: Foam insulation reduces air leakage through walls.   Fiberglass insulation can’t.

NOTE: Why You Don’t Want To Install Thicker Insulation Batts (than wall thickness) — And Compress The Insulation:

  • The air-pockets in fiberglass insulation become compressed.
  • The additional R-Value (of thicker insulation when compressed) is minimal (details just below).
  • Compressing batt insulation is not cost-effective.
  • To Raise Wall-Insulation R-Value — Use High-Density Batt Instead.

Source: https://www.jlconline.com/how-to/insulation/q-a-compressing-fiberglass-batts_o


A Great Way To Lower Cooling Expense (& Heating)

Can Be To Add Exterior Wall Insulation To An Existing Wall.

Likely The Easiest Way To Do This Is With (non-expanding, open-cell) Injection-Foam Insulation.

  • Open-cell foam can retain up to 5% of its weight in water.
  • But, Open-cell spray foam is breathable — and allows air & any moisture to flow through it.
  • Should any water come in contact with Open-Cell foam — the water will find a way to pass through it.

Source: https://www.retrofoamofmichigan.com/blog/injection-foam-insulation-spray-foam-insulation-difference

  • It’s injected into outside walls (from outdoors) — through holes drilled through exterior surfaces (then holes are patched).
  • Injection foam can be installed in most types of exterior surfaces — including; Brick, Stone, Stucco, Concrete, Vinyl, Aluminum, Wood & Shingles siding.
  • Small holes are drilled through the mortar between bricks or stones.
  • It can also be injected from inside the home.
  • Injection foam insulation seals most air leaks.
  • It also reduces outside noise from entering the home by up to 75%

Source: https://insulatedfw.com/services/wall-injection-foam/

Open-Cell foam is lightweight and pliable — and can move and shift.   This can be a great feature for a home built on a “floating slab” foundation.  These foundations are built in areas where Expansive Soil is prevalent.  Expansive soil increases in size when wet, and decreases in size when dry.  Floating slabs are designed to accommodate some movement without damage.  Open-Cell foam also accommodates some foundation movement.

Click Here For A U.S. Map Showing The Presence Of Expansive-Soils: U.S. Map Of Areas With Expansive Soils

If the link doesn’t work — copy this into your browser: https://geology.com/articles/soils


This YouTube Video Demonstrates Adding Injection-Foam Insulation

Into An Exterior Wall With Existing Fiberglass Batt Insulation

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video Link

Shown: Adding Injection-Foam Insulation Into An Exterior Wall With Fiberglass Insulation

 

This YouTube Video Demonstrates Adding Injection-Foam Insulation

Though An Interior Wall

(This Is Often Done To Reduce Noise-Transfer Through Interior Walls). 

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video Link

Shown: Adding Injection-Foam Insulation Into An Interior Wall (often for sound-control)



To Skip This Section — Scroll Down To The Next Double Lines

11. Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier In The Attic

On a sunny day, when you walk under a tree, you immediately feel cooler.  This is because the sun’s radiant-heat becomes blocked by the tree’s leaves.   The sun’s radiant heat raises the temperature of everything it shines upon.   Every surface (in the sun) becomes hotter than the outdoor temperature.  This Applies To Home Attics Too.

  • In The Southern 1/3 Of The U.S. — outdoor temps often reach or exceed 100 degrees.
  • On those same days — attic temps can reach 170 degrees.

In The Southern 1/3  Of The U.S. a Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier blocks the sun’s radiant-heat from entering the attic (beyond the Foil).  The Foil channels the heat upward toward the attic’s ventilation — where the heat exits the attic.  The Foil is stapled to the bottoms of the Rafters (the edge facing the insulation).  Rafters are what the roof deck is nailed to.  The roof deck is what the shingles are nailed to.

In the Southern 1/3 of the U.S. — A Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier has a tremendous effect on cooling bills because the attic stays cooler.  And, since most homes in the Sunbelt have their HVAC Ductwork (and often the furnace) in the attic — anything that keeps the attic cooler keeps the Ductwork cooler too.   The top half of the photo below shows the: “Rafters’ Installation” of the foil.

In The Central 1/3  and Northern 1/3 Of The U.S.A Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier is laid on top of the insulation

Foil On Top Of The Insulation Does Two Things:

1. It reflects the cold in the attic (during winter) upward. 

2. It reflects the heat (rising from the rooms below) downward.   

These two effects keep the insulation warmer during winter — so less heat (from the rooms) moves into warmer insulation.  This reduces both cooling & heating bills. The bottom half of the photo below shows the: “On Top Of Attic Insulation” installation of the foil. 

Foil Radiant-Heat Barriers are very common in the southern 1/3 of the U.S.  They are uncommon (or rare) farther north.  They aren’t something many people (living further north) even know about.  And most people would assume the Foil will cause the attic to be colder during winter (and it would be — if nailed to the rafters).

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video

SHOWN ABOVE: The 2 Best Installation Methods For Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier


How Foil, Radiant-Heat Barrier WORKS In; Hot, Moderate, & Cold Climates

NOTE: Based On Home’s Location & Age: Foil Is Installed Differently AND A Different STYLE Of Foil May Be Required (details below).

 

Hot Climate (Southern 1/3 Of U.S.)

Foil Radiant Heat-Barrier Is Stapled To The Bottoms Of Attic Rafters.

NOTE: See The YouTube Video Above For WHERE To Install Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier.

Foil Stapled To The Bottom Of Attic Rafters Reflects the sun’s radiant-heat back into the gap (between the roof deck & foil).  The heat rises & exits through the attic ventilation.

 

Moderate Climate (Central 1/3 of U.S.) & Cold Climate (Northern 1/3 Of U.S.)

Foil Radiant Heat-Barrier Is Laid On Top Of Attic Insulation.

NOTE: See The YouTube Video Above For WHERE To Install Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier.

Foil Laid On Top Of Insulation: Reflects cold in the attic upward & away from the insulation AND reflects the warmth downward & back toward the living space.


NOTE A Different Style Of Foil Radiant Heat-Barrier Is Required For Older Homes. 

The Different Style Foil Has Larger Holes —  To Allow Water-Vapor (coming from inside the home) To Escape Through The Foil.

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video

SHOWN: SuperPerf Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier — With Much Larger Perforations/Holes.

 

AtticFoil.com SUPER PERF Foil

(If Link Doesn’t Work, Copy This Into Your Browser):

45″ Wide Perforated Double Sided Radiant Barrier Foil – SuperPerf™

 

TIP: To Determine If Your Home Needs The Foil With Larger Holes.

You Must Know: 1. The Year Your Home Was Built (it’s typically on Property Tax Records) AND  2. The IECC (2012 or later) Your State Used The Year The Home Was Built. **

If Your Home Was Built The Year After Your  State Adopted The 2012 (or later) IECC — You Don’t Need The Foil With Larger Holes.

(The 2012 IECC Required Strict Air-Sealing In Newly-Built Homes).

 

Click Below To Check Which IECC — Your State Currently Uses And The Year It Was Adopted:

IECC Used & Adoption Year — BY STATE

(If Link Doesn’t Work, Copy This Into Your Browser)

https://www.nahb.org/-/media/NAHB/advocacy/docs/top-priorities/codes/code-adoption/state-adoption-status-iecc-june-2021.pdf

** As Of June 2021:

  • 2 States (California & Oregon) codes exceed the 2021 IECC.
  • Note: IECCs Later Than 2012 — Include 2012 IECC Codes.
  •   0 States use 2021 IECC.
  • 17 States use 2018 IECC
  • 15 States use 2015 IECC
  • 3 States use 2012 IECC
  • 3 States use 2009 IECC
  • 7 States don’t use IECC & have no State codes for Energy Efficiency.

Please Note: We Do Not Recieve Compensation From AtticFoil.com

Will A FOIL Radiant-Heat Barrier Damage, Or Shorten The Shingles’ Lifespan? 

NO

Image Source YouTube Embedded Link

Shown: Video Explains How A Radiant-Heat Barrier Works

To View The Video: Click On White Arrow In Center Of Image

Image Source YouTube Embedded Link

Shown: Thermal Image In Video Shows Shingles At Only +7 Degrees Where The Radiant-Heath Barrier Is Installed.

To View The Video: Click On White Arrow In Center Of Image

 

Will A Foil Radiant Heat-Barrier, Applied To The Roof Deck Directly Under Typical Asphalt Shingles – Work?

NO — There Must Be An Air Gap Between Roofing Material & Roof Deck.

Image Source YouTube Embedded Link

To View The Video: Click On White Arrow In Center Of Image

 

(For the southern U.S.) – Will A Radiant-Heat Control-Coating PAINT

(Applied Directly To The Underneath Side Of The Roof Deck)

Work As Well As Foil?  NO.

Image Source YouTube Embedded Link

To View The Video: Click On White Arrow In Center Of Image


WHERE Should Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier Be Installed?

Stapled To Rafters OR Lay On Insulation

Depends On WHERE The Home Is Located — Details Above

Image Source YouTube Embedded Link

Shown: Lay Foil On Insulation Versus Staple To Rafters?

To View The Video: Click On White Arrow In Center Of Image


NOTE: Use Only Perforated Attic Radiant Heat-Barrier In Attics (details above)

NOTE: Don’t Use Non-Perforated Foil In An Attic — It Would Dramatically Reduce Water-Vapor Leaving The Attic.

Image: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN: 1,000 Sq. Ft. RadiantGUARD Classic (brand) Perforated Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier (for use in attics)

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

 


CAUTION: Non-Perforated Foil Is ONLY For CRAWL SPACES. 

NOTE: Because It Minimizes Water-Vapor (From The Crawl-Space) Entering The Living Space.

NON-Perforated Radiant Heat-Barrier Foil 

Image: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN: 1,000 Sq. Ft. Perforated Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier (for use in attics)

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

Using A NON-Perforated Radiant-Heat Barrier Foil In A CRAWL SPACE — Provides 2 Benefits: 

  • Reflects Radiant-Heat (coming through the floor) Upward Toward The Living Spaces.  This reduces heat loss into the crawl space. 
  • This Also Acts As A Vapor-Retarder — to minimize water vapor (from the soil) from migrating (through the floors) into the living spaces above.

TIP: The Best Way To Install A Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier In A Crawl Space — Staple It To The Bottoms Of The Floor Joists.


NOTE: The Product Shown Below — IS ONLY FOR CRAWL SPACES.

INSULATING NON-Perforated Foil Radiant Heat-Barrier

Image: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN: INSULATING, NON-Perforated Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier (For Use ONLY in A Crawl Space)

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

This Product Is Notably More Expensive Than The Non-Insulating Foil (shown in the 2nd photo above)

BUT It Also Provides Considerable Insulating Ability.

The Amazon Web Page States:

  • INSULATING R-VALUE: Up To R-15.6 (1 layer) & Up To R-21 (2 layers).
  • FIRE RATED: Fire rate Class 1 / Class A.
  • NON-TOXIC: Non-Allergic –will not irritate skin, eyes, or throat.
  • This Also Acts As A Vapor Retarder — Minimizes Water-Vapor (humidity) rising (from the soil) into the living spaces above.

TIP: It’s OK To Nail This Product To Floor Joists In A Crawl Space With A Plastic Vapor Barrier (leave the plastic in place).



To Skip This Section — Scroll Down To The Next Double Lines

12. Mechanical Ventilation On Newer Homes

photo of new home

Image Source: Pixabay.com

  • To Meet Increasing Building Codes — Newer Homes (built a few years before 2012) Had Become Too Airtight.
  • These newer homes could not ventilate themselves enough to ensure Acceptable Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) — with 1/3 Air Change (with outdoor air) Per Hour.
  • Once this became evident, Building Codes began to Require Mechanical-Ventilation — to ensure Acceptable Indoor Air Quality (IAQ),
  • In 2012 The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) began requiring newly-built homes to have Mechanical Ventilation.
  • The was to ensure the Minimum Air-Exchange (without outdoor air) That Ensures Safe IAQ.
  • Safe IAQ requires a home to exchange 1/3 of indoor air (with outdoor air) each hour.

Why Some Homes Built Before 2012 — DO Have Air-Exchange Systems

  • Some States required Mechanical Ventilation before 2012.  Example: Minnesota.

OR

  • The home builder installed it — even though an Air-Exchange System wasn’t yet required by the State the home is located in.
  • This is a good reflection of the caliber of the home’s builder.

Why Some Homes Built After 2012 — DON’T Have Air-Exchange Systems.

  • It depends on what year your State adopted the 2012 IECC into its Building Codes.
  • Not all states adopt the most recent IECC immediately.
  • Example: Texas adopted the 2012 IECC in 2017.

Starting In 2017 Texas Homes Are Required To Have Mechanical Ventilation

NOTE: In Late 2016 — TEXAS Adopted The 2015 Mechanical Ventilation Code (includes all 2012 requirments).

photo of a new home

Image Source: Pixabay

The 2 Most Common Types Of Mechanical Ventilation

1. A 2nd Bath Exhaust Fan (in the owner’s primary bathroom) That Can’t Be Turned Off.

NOTE: Don’t Disable This Fan.  It’s Required To Ensure Safe Indoor Air Quality.

  • The 2nd fan is the Mechanical-Ventilation Fan.
  • This fan removes enough air to ensure .35 Air Change per Hour (ACH) —  1/3 of Indoor Air must be exchanged with Outdoor Air each hour.

The 2nd Bath Vent Is Coupled With:

  • Fresh Outdoor Air typically enters through “Fresh Air Intake”.  Most have a Mechanically-controlled damper.
  • The Fresh-Air Intake is connected to the HVAC System’s Return-Air Ductwork.
  • This system allows only enough fresh air to enter to ensure 1/3 ACH.
  • Fresh (outdoor) air passes through the furnace filter before entering the home.

This YouTube Video Describes A Simple, Automatic Fresh Air Intake System.

The motorized damper opens and closes as needed.   This avoids more outside air (than is needed) — entering the home.

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video

Click On White Arrow To View Video.

Shown: Automatic Fresh Air Intake System With Electrically-Operated Damper.  This prevents fresh air from entering the home when it’s not needed.

-OR-

2. An Energy Recovery Ventilator (HRV) — It Removes Heat Or Cool From Indoor Air Before Venting It Outdoors.

It Uses That Heat/Cool — To Help Warm or Cool The Air Entering The Home.

 

SHOWN: If Your Home Has An HRV — It will look similar to this (and have ductwork connected to it).

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

Click On Image To Learn More About Heat Recovery Ventilators.

So Why Not Simply Allow The House To Leak More Air — And Not Require Mechanical Ventilation?

Outdoor Air Leaking Into A Home (through leaks) Is Dirty:

  • Outdoor Air is typically contaminated with; dust, pollen, & mold spores.  Outdoor air, entering the home through the furnace air filter — has many of these contaminants removed.
  • Home air leaks often travel through wall or ceiling insulation — contaminated with decades of dust & allergens.
  • Ceiling (attic) or wall insulation may also have rodent droppings.

Outside Air Leaking Into A Home Wastes Increases Cooling Expenses & Heating Expenses:

  • When the wind blows — homes leak more air.
  • A very airtight home (with controlled, mechanical ventilation) — won’t leak more air when the wind is blowing.
  • Mechanical Ventilation is calibrated to allow only enough fresh air — to ensure safe Indoor Indoor Air Quality.

Source: https://inspectapedia.com/Energy/Pascal_Calculations.php



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75+ Ways To Lower Cooling Expense – Part 6

Without Replacing Your HVAC System

(Most Of These Ways Also Lower Heating Bills)

This Is Part 6 — Click Here To Read Part 1:  AlsPlumbing.com Lower Cooling Costs — 75+ Ways

This was Part-6 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 air leakage, testing a home for air leakage, and attic & wall insulation levels in Texas homes over the years. 

Al’s Plumbing offers; Maintenance, Repairs & Replacements for every plumbing component in your home.    We sell and install gas and electric water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in; Plano, TX; Allen, TX; Frisco, TX; and McKinney, 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.