Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

The Stack Effect: How It Impacts Your Energy Efficiency

The Stack Effect: How It Impacts Your Energy EfficiencyThe stack effect is a physical force that affects how air moves in and out of buildings based on temperature differences and it affects energy efficiency. It’s the most powerful in the winter during cold weather, but it’s also in play during hot summer weather. The bottom line for homeowners, particularly those in multiple story homes, is that air moves in and out of buildings naturally and could drive up your cooling and heating bills.

Without getting too technical, it’s important to know that any cracks or gaps you have in your home’s envelope will let air you’ve paid to condition escape from your home even when the wind isn’t blowing, the windows are closed, or fans aren’t running. Besides raising your energy costs, those air leaks create discomfort. You may have rooms that feel hot in the summer or cold and drafty in the winter. Unless they have air leaks or single-pane windows, it might be a sign of the stack effect in play.

What to Do About the Stack Effect

Minimizing the stack effect will cut your energy bills, especially in the winter when it has the strongest effect. The only way to slow or stop it is to seal the air leaks throughout your home to improve its energy efficiency. A professional energy audit will show you where the leaks are or you can conduct your own. Licensed auditors use blower doors to identify all the leakage in your home’s envelope, from those large enough to be visible to hairline cracks.

Once you know where the leaks are, you can use caulk, expanding foam, flashings and weatherstripping to seal them. A tight home won’t let air in or out, and is the only way to manage the stack effect in a typical single-family dwelling. Tall buildings use rely on elevator shafts and sometimes revolving doors to minimize energy losses from air movement.

Your home’s energy efficiency has a direct impact on how well your HVAC system keeps up with changing temperatures year-round. To learn more, contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company, providing HVAC services for Yuma-area homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 928-723-3183.