Air movement is critical to the design and operation of your home. It can severely affect energy efficiency and indoor air quality. Therefore, it pays to know the science behind how air moves within your home.
The Basics of Airflow
For air to enter, flow within, and exit your home, there must be a path or hole for the air to move through and a driving force, such as wind and HVAC fans. With every quantity of air that flows into your home, an equal amount must leave the house, and vice versa.
The airflow within your home is controlled or uncontrolled. Mechanical devices such as your HVAC system, fans, and ventilation systems generate controlled airflow. Uncontrolled airflow refers to any nondesigned air-movement into, within, or out of your home. It can be caused by several factors, such as malfunctioning fans and duct leakage.
How Airflow Affects Energy Efficiency
The more uncontrolled airflow, the lower your home’s overall efficiency. Every cubic foot of air that your ductwork loses to the outdoors through leakage has to be replaced. This causes outside air to be drawn in through the leaks in your home envelope. Unfortunately, duct leakage mostly takes place when summer and winter are at their peak and energy efficiency is in the highest demand.
Air leakage can even make infiltration rates skyrocket by 300% and cause your HVAC energy consumption to increase, significantly lowering your heating and air conditioning equipment’s efficiency. In many well-insulated houses, a significant amount of heating and cooling energy consumption is caused by uncontrolled leakage of air through the home enclosure.
What About IAQ?
Uncontrolled air leakage robs your home of a healthy environment. It causes VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and particulate pollutants to be drawn from one part of the house to another. For example, radon and other soil gases can be drawn from your basement or crawl space. Heating equipment can also back-draft, leading to carbon monoxide entering your home.
Moisture can be allowed into your home during hot, humid weather conditions and encourage mold growth.
Air sealing the undesigned holes that allow uncontrolled air movement is essential to preventing damage by moisture, reducing energy losses, and boosting the health of your family. If you need help with promoting good airflow in your Yuma-area home, contact the HVAC professionals at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company.