We all know how a chimney works: Hot air rises, carrying smoke and soot up and out through the roof. The vacuum draws cooler air at hearth level to feed the flames. Most people agree that fireplaces are charming and cozy, and do a lot for a home’s ambiance, but the term “chimney effect” also describes how your home leaks air and feels drafty.
Gaps Allow Air to Move from the Bottom of Your Home to the Top
The chimney effect (also called the “stack effect”), as applied to home heating and cooling, explains how in winter, our heated air rises through gaps in the roof and upper floor, drawing cooler air inside from gaps along the foundation due to pressure imbalances. In summer, the process is reversed, though the pressure differences occur to a lesser degree.
The taller your home, the more it acts like a chimney; the taller the column of air, the more pressure the column exerts on air exchange.
Sealing Gaps Will Reduce the Chimney Effect
If your winter bills aren’t reflecting the return on investment you’ve put into your heating and cooling systems, or your home feels drafty and uncomfortable, it’s likely that improper sealing is the culprit. An experienced energy consultant can help you identify these common “problem spots” to ensure your money isn’t quite literally slipping away.
Thermoscan Technology Pinpoints Air Leaks
Before you can seal any gaps, you must find them. Because air is invisible, it’s hard to know exactly where these leaks in your home exist. At A+ Insulation, during our home energy evaluation, we use Thermoscan technology to seek out these less-than-obvious points of air leakage. Some of the most common leak points include:
- Plumbing traps
- Air ducts
- Recessed lighting
- Dirt floor basements: chimney effect also compounds risk of radon gas
- Improper roof & eave venting
- Appliance vents
- Combustion furnaces
- Foundation gaps
- Wiring courses
- Doors & windows