New Jersey is currently in the grip of its third heat wave in 2012. Temperatures have been in the mid to high 90s, with very high relative humidity, making it feel like 104 degrees. This very hot and uncomfortable weather is when people can really feel how their house is performing (or perhaps how it isn’t performing).
Is Your Home Hot, Humid, and Uncomfortable?
Take a look at the picture to the right. This picture was taken before the attic was Weatherized. See where the sheetrock meets the wood? That creates one long continuous gap in your home that allows warm, humid air into your home during a heat wave. While you have your AC unit working hard to both cool down and dehumidify your home, these gaps and cracks can add up to the equivalent of leaving a window open in your home year round. Sealing up all these gaps and cracks keeps all that nice cool air you paid for in the house, and helps to keep you comfortable by keeping out the hot, humid air from outside.
While on the subject of nice cool air, think of your air conditioning unit. How long does it run for when you set a comfortable temperature? Does it run all day? Does it turn on for a few minutes, turn back off, only to turn on a few minutes later? Either one of these extremes point to a Home Performance problem that is very common in homes with central AC. If your AC unit runs all day, your home may be very leaky (with lots of gaps and cracks that need to sealed) or your AC unit may be undersized. A unit that clicks on and off for short periods throughout the day is not working at its optimal efficiency, and is often over sized. A properly sized AC unit should run for about 30 minutes when it comes on, to help to dehumidify the air in your home. The process of cooling down air actually draws moisture out of the air, making your home feel more comfortable. The proper range of humidity for your home should be between 40-60%. This range ensures that mold and mildew don’t form inside your home while not drying the occupants out (Look for a blog post coming soon that discusses humidity in more detail).
How Can Home Performance Make Me More Comfortable?
Home Performance is often measured with an eye towards energy efficiency and saving money on your energy bills. At AccuGreen Home Performance, we like to say that saving money is a great benefit of a very comfortable home. The first step in making any home more comfortable, is an AccuGreen Home Performance Energy Audit. This Energy Audit will help AccuGreen Home Performance identify how we can make your home more comfortable and save you money on your energy bills.
The second step in making your home more comfortable is Weatherization. Weatherization, simply put, keeps the uncomfortable air from outside (hot and humid in the summer, cold and dry in the winter) from getting into your home. We typically start in your attic, pull back any existing insulation, and seal up all the gaps and cracks we can access. When we have finished sealing up your attic, we replace all the insulation, and move on to other high priority areas, typically in the basement. Energy Star estimates that most homeowners can save 20% on their heating and cooling costs with Weatherization and Insulation performed by a skilled contractor (AccuGreen Home Performance is an Energy Star Partner). While the saving money is great, these two measures can make your home much more comfortable, both in the winter, and during these hot, humid summer days.
The final step in ensuring that your home is going to be comfortable during the next heat wave is having a properly sized AC unit. Oversize units are more expensive to purchase, use more energy to cool your home, and often don’t run long enough to provide de-humidification, and have their effective life shortened by the constant on/off cycling.
Contacting AccuGreen Home Performance is the first step in making your home more comfortable. Feel free to call, or email, and we will provide a solution that makes your home more comfortable, and helps save you money on your energy bills. Remember, saving money is a great benefit to making your home more comfortable!