That is the question. As usual we shall start today with an acronym, BTU – which stands for British thermal unit and is defined as the energy required to heat one pound of water one degree. It can also be defined as the amount of energy released by a single wooden match. There are many different versions of the calculation and it is used in various ways to measure heat, natural gas, and of course my favorite, air conditioning. One watt of electricity has a rough conversion of 3.4 BTU’s.
I recently attended a refresher course on the Aeroseal® system and came away with a couple of mind -boggling statistics. Hold on to your hats as I am still having trouble getting my mind around these numbers! It is estimated that in the United States last year, our duct systems collectively wasted 330,000,000,000,000 BTU’s of energy and yes that is trillions! The second trivial fact that was imparted upon me was that it would take a train of coal cars stretching from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to generate that many BTU’s of energy. So as always, the question becomes what should we do?
According to the EPA, Consumer Reports, This Old House, and several other leading authorities including this House Whisperer, one of the fastest and easiest ways to start saving money in your home is to properly seal the air ducts of your HVAC system. If you want a rough idea of how much air your duct system is wasting to the attic there is a simple calculation that will allow you to get close.
Let’s start by counting all the supply vents in your home. Now multiply the number of vents by 2.5, this on average will be very close to the number of connection points in your attic. I am being as conservative as possible with the next statement, if each connection point is only leaking one percent that is the amount of conditioned air that is getting wasted to the attic. As a re-cap, I have 14 supply vents in my subject home, which means I have approximately 35 connections points all leaking one percent, which translates to a whopping 35% of the air that is not getting delivered to the interior of the home.
This is where Aeroseal comes in. A simplification of the process is as follows; we hook the sealing equipment into the main trunk line of the homes air conditioner and remove all the supply grilles. The vents are then blocked with a thick plug to prevent the sealing material from going into the home. The ducts are pressurized and the sealing material is injected. This material, which smells similar to Elmer’s Glue, becomes active when it finds an opening in the duct system and the first molecule sticks to the opening followed by the second, third, and so on until the opening is plugged. Aeroseal can take care of holes in ductwork up to the size of a quarter.
Ok, call to action time! We are very well versed when it comes to all aspects of your home, especially what is happening in your ductwork as well as the attic. If you haven’t been, or had someone check out what is happening up there in recent time, I suggest that you give us a ring at 1-800-475-1504, or you can schedule a service call (just mention that you would like an attic evaluation) directly through our awesome website. I’m off to Hallandale Beach to deal with a mold issue so until we meet again, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.
House Whisperer out!
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