Have you heard you need to “tighten up” your home? Or maybe you’ve been told your Austin area home needs to breathe so you can circulate more fresh air… What’s the best course of action here? Homeowners here in Texas are getting mixed signals when it comes to keeping their homes safe, healthy, and comfortable. So what is the answer when it comes to the “tightness” of your home, otherwise referred to as your building envelope? At Green Collar Operations we know that ventilating your home properly is about control, and here’s why.
Addressing Poor Ventilation in Your House
Sufficient house ventilation is an often misunderstood and integral facet of a building’s overall performance. Some homeowners think using natural ventilation, like opening a window or wafting outside air through an open door is sufficient ventilation. Unfortunately, the answer is a little more nuanced than that.
Creating a tight building envelope in your home will keep the outside air where it belongs — outside. By reducing all of the tiny holes, cracks, and gaps that exist in your home you can have complete control over your indoor temperatures, as well as the number of outside contaminants, particles, and allergens that enter your breathing air. But a very tight home may also trap any existing contaminants, particles, and allergens in your living space, where they will circulate over and over again. Surprisingly, the air quality in a home built with airtight house construction can be much worse than a leaky home, even if the temperatures may be more consistent.
So how can you get the best of both worlds, and increase the air quality in a tight house? It all begins with understanding where your building envelope is lacking in the first place.
Increasing Indoor Air Quality with a 45 Minute Energy Audit
You wouldn’t go into surgery without an x-ray or an MRI first, would you? That’s why we like to start each home performance upgrade project with one of our free 45-minute energy audits. This gives us the “vital signs” of your home, so to speak. When a Green Collar Operations technician arrives at your home for an energy audit, they will perform a series of diagnostic exams on your home to locate any weak points in your building envelope. We will exam each aspect of your home, including:
Testing your heating & air conditioning equipment
Checking for lapses in your ductwork design
Examining insulation levels in your walls & attic
Locating air leaks throughout
What Happens After Your Energy Audit?
Once your audit is complete, you will receive an assessment outlining which areas of your home performance are affecting your indoor air quality, your home comfort, and your energy bills. This report will include our recommendations for how to move forward with repairing your building envelope, as well as any other energy savings tips that will reduce your electricity costs and keep your home more comfortable all year round. The common home upgrades we recommend are:
Closing up all of the holes, cracks, and gaps in your home through air sealing will put a stop to the invisible air infiltration that is happening right under your nose. We often locate hidden air leaks in the attic, along windows and doors, in recessed lighting, and in other problematic areas in your home construction.
It is probably no surprise to you that your air conditioning accounts for up to 70% of your electric bill during Texas’s hot months? If the ductwork connected to your air conditioner is faulty, leaky, and poorly designed you could be wasting between 20 and 30 percent of your cool conditioned air. Leaky ductwork also allows the dust and dirt from your attic to infiltrate your breathing air, further reducing your indoor air quality. We recommend duct sealing and testing, as well as air flow balancing. In more extreme cases, we may also recommend replacing your ductwork to provide the maximum return on your home upgrade investment.
We have spent a lot of time talking about ventilation for air tight homes — but the other side of the coin when it comes to controlling the air in your home is controlling the temperature through insulation. A well insulated house will have stable indoor temperatures all year long, by preventing the transfer of heat through your exterior walls as well as through the roof and attic.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
If you’re looking for a break on your energy bills as well as a breath of fresh air at home, it all starts with an energy audit. Green Collar Operations has been helping Texans live healthier in air tight, super insulated homes for over a decade, and we know that no two homes are exactly alike. We take a customized approach to each and every job, and will work tirelessly and efficiently to develop the right home performance solution for you. Not only will our air sealing, duct solution, and insulation upgrades keep your air cleaner, they can also improve the performance and decrease the wear and tear of a newly installed AC or heating system!