Does Your Air Conditioner Run Overtime During Nashville Summers?
Summertime in Middle Tennessee brings oppressive heat and humidity. We keep our air conditioners running overtime just to try to cool down. Unfortunately, air leaks in your basement let cold air escape and introduce the warm air you are trying to keep out. These leaks can make your air conditioning unit work harder and longer to achieve the same result.
With the help of one of our skilled technicians or some moderate to advanced DIY work, you can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs by sealing and insulating the exterior of your home. It will also make your home more comfortable and help your heating and cooling system run more efficiently.
How to Identify Air Leaks
If you decide to enlist the help of an expert, contact us and one of our certified technicians will come inspect your HVAC system. They will help find and fix your air leaks and inefficiencies, making your home more energy efficient and saving you money.
Before you take this route, you may want to try to take some steps to make your home more energy efficient on your own.
Start by looking for large openings in outside walls, then look closer for smaller, less visible openings.
On windy days, you can feel around doors, window frames and the base of walls for air. Rattle your windows to check for movement, which would also be a sign of space. Ceiling fixtures such as recessed lights can be an additional source of heat loss. Also, make sure to check ventilation fixtures, plumbing, and wires through the foundation.
You can identify basement leaks yourself.
Where to Look for Basement Air Leaks
- Openings in outside walls
- Window frames
- Base of walls
- Electrical outlets
- Light switches
- Ceiling fixtures
- Rim joists
Filling holes in basement walls will help close off the entrance of warm air, reducing your house’s chimney effect. You should also look to seal holes that go through the basement ceiling to the floor above. These holes can be for wires, water supply and drain pipes, the plumbing vent stack and the furnace flue. By sealing these leaks, you ensure that the cold air stays in and the warm air stays out.
Plugging Air Leaks
You’ve found air leaks in your basement. What should you do next?
This is another opportunity to call a certified technician, but if you decide to seal the leaks yourself, here are some tips to help you get the job done.
4 DIY Tips For Plugging Basement Air Leaks
- Measure the size of the leak. For larger openings, ¼ an inch to 3 inches wide, low-expansion polyurethane foam in a can will fill them. For smaller openings, less than ¼-inch wide, caulk makes the best gap-filler.
- If you are using caulk, evaluate the opening to decide which type you should use. A silicone caulk works well with nonporous materials such as metal flashing. Acrylic latex caulk is less messy and good in areas that will be exposed to water. You should use a high-temperature caulk around vent pipes that will get very hot.
- To seal leaks from rim joists, the best solution is a spray foam solution. Air and moisture can seep into the house through the foundation, so spread the solution between the foundation and the wood immediately above the foundation.
- After any project where you reduce air leakage, have a heating and cooling technician check to make sure that your combustion appliances are venting properly. These appliances include gas- or oil-fired furnaces, water heaters, and dryers.
If you need additional instructions on how to foam or caulk, reference Energy Star’s website here. If you’ve done whole-house checks and fixed major leaks, but your utility bill isn’t decreasing or your system is still working hard, it may be time for an HVAC replacement.