Insulation and Air Sealing
The Most Important Improvement You Can Make
By properly insulating and air sealing, it will save you money upfront and will reduce your utility bills for years to come. A comprehensive energy audit will scientifically determine how much air leakage exists in your home and the current insulation levels and quality
Primary Reason A Home Is Uncomfortable
The number one reason homeowners call A Johnson Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning is comfort-related issues.They have rooms in their home that are always hot in the summer and cold in the winter, no matter how long their heater or air conditioner is running. In the winter, they have cold floors, feel drafts in certain parts of their home, and are generally uncomfortable. In the summer, they have rooms that are 10 to 15 degrees hotter than the rest of the house and the indoor air is muggy.
The second reason they call is high utility bills. Their heating and cooling equipment is over-sized and is constantly having to run to overcome outside air entering the home and other construction deficiencies.
Massive air leaks in the attic and insufficient attic and wall insulation is typically the primary reason a home is uncomfortable and has high heating and cooling costs.
Air Leaks in the Home
Air leakage, or infiltration, occurs when outside air enters a house uncontrollably through cracks, gaps, and openings. Most homes have the equivalent of a large open window in combined air leaks in their attic alone!
Many air leaks and drafts are easy to find because they are easy to feel — like those around windows and doors. But holes hidden in attics, basements, and crawlspaces are more difficult and a bigger problem.
In the illustration on the left, this shows the warm air generated by the heating system rising into the attic around recessed lights, ceiling fans, attic access doors, and registers. Unfortunately, the homeowner is paying to heat their attic! This is not something any of us want to do.
Up in the attic, there are always large holes and gaps that the builder never sealed and you’d never know about. As an example, the picture on the left is a chase that was likely intended to hold pipes and wires that run from the attic to the first floor. Unfortunately, not only is it not being used but it allows air to freely move back and forth between the attic and the living space of the home (this is not what you want).
The picture with blue, yellow and red is from an infrared camera.
Blue areas are cold air and yellow and red areas are hot air. This particular image was taken in the summer to illustrate how cold air created by the air conditioner is making its way to the attic. All of this cold air is being lost from the living space and being blown into the attic. In the winter, the reverse process takes place. Warm air created by the heater rises into the attic. Recessed canned lights are also a major source of air loss, particularly when there are 10, 20 or even 30 of them in the home. Air not only leaks around the opening but also through the fixture itself.
To find these penetrations, we use blower doors and infrared cameras. These tools are highly effective at detecting hidden air movement and thermal deficiencies.