Do you have a too hot home office? Maybe a bedroom too hot? Maybe you have a hot upstairs in summer? Maybe you have a hot and uncomfortable bonus room or add-on depending on where you are from and what you call such a thing.
Or is the reverse true? Are you feeling a chill during the heating season? These conditions are related and our purpose here is to quickly zero in on the structural and/or mechanical issues at the root of the problem. We need to identify the issues, and find solutions to root problems and not just treat symptoms.
Let break down the Fundamental Issues
There are structural and design issues with your home that determine who well insulated your home is and how much air leaks in and out of your house. These issues can be localized. Stuff gets screwed up. Construction people get tired and cut corners. These defects mean areas of your home might lack insulation or have serious defects in the air control layer.
There might be mechanical issues with your central heating and cooling system. Duct issues are quite common. We need to get a grip on these. There are a variety of issues which can be acting together to make you uncomfortable.
You need a basic understanding of these fundamental issues, because contractors often leave it to you have provide the perspective. And you will find contractors who do want you know know perspective, and it is important that you get a sense of where they are “coming from”- is that hippy speak?- and understand that these contractors are not just trying to complicate things and scare you with details to get you buy something.
Too often, your problem is usually filtered through the view of the service contractor you talk to. We discuss this propensity here. There are many things to watch out for, so we will try to armour you with facts and perspective. Lets get started. [stextbox id=”info” caption=”Maybe the issue is with the upstairs” bwidth=”2″]Is this issue related to the upstairs? Upstairs are particularly susceptible to issues of too hot because hotter air floats up in cooler denser air, and so the upstairs air is always hotter but there are also structural issues here too. [/stextbox] [stextbox id=”info” caption=”Maybe being too hot is a personal preference problem? ” bwidth=”2″] Maybe the too hot issue is just one person complaining? Or everyone but the controller of the thermostat is complaining? This might be solved by a zoning solution. We talk about this option here. [/stextbox] It is good that you did not rush off and call the insulation contractor or the window replacement contractor. In fact, you are very much in the evaluation portion of understanding your particular situation. There is key information you need that will help you put in perspective what makes sense for your home. Here are notes on why a broader perspective can help.
- Has the home been remodeled?
- Are your issues related to a bonus room?
- How well insulated is your home?
- Do you have a problem with your existing windows?
- Maybe your home allows too much air infiltration
- Maybe You have issues with solar gain
- Is Thermal Bridging an issue?
- Have Leaks and Water Damage Impacted your Insulation?
Maybe your issues with too hot too cold are mechanical Issues.
Do you have defects in your heating- air conditioning system? Are the ducts leaking? Do you have a system imbalance or a problem with return air? These issues can be quite complex so we deal with them on a separate page.
Remodeling is intended to make the home more beautiful- more useful- and give you more space. This is the happy news, In reality, all kinds of things can happen here because you are altering what is there- attaching to what is there and things happen. Maybe construction is busy and subs are busy with builders, so finding the right talent for a your remodel job can be tough.
Quite often, budget plays a big deal in the remodel. You might be really cost conscious too. There is only so much fat in a building budget. Probably no fat. Want to be skinnier than no fat? It can and is often done. We discuss the perils and pitfalls of remodeling here.
return to structural issues
Are your issues related to a bonus room?
Was something done to compromise energy efficiency? This relates to the same perils as remodeling but from a different perspective. return to structural issues
Cut up roofing and attic spaces create obstructions and design difficulties which are hard to insulate . Framing members can leave you with too many thermal bridges. We talk about thermal bridging issues below. But all kinds of issues, structural and air leakage which we discuss next, can exacerbate the issues with insulation.
You just might want to plan an expedition into your attic? It is full of useful information ast to why your energy bills are as high as they are… or why your home might be uncomfortable. Thre are several things to discover on this trip, so I suggest you check out this discussion on an attic venture.
Depending on the type of insulation between ceiling joists, and the complexity of the ceiling and roof support framing, you might have a variety of gaps. Fiberglass insulation batts here are particularly susceptible to poor placement. Loose fill is a bit better but the ceiling portions make creating a good air tight ceiling problematical. We talk about air infiltration solutions just below.
But insulation is too important an issue to discuss in this space, and so let take that discussion off page.
Here are some tantalizing tidbits. These should be important to you because defects here and complacency in the solution cost you money every month.
Here is our general discussion on Insulation levels in your home…
This is also a great time to discuss your ceiling access. It leaks air, It has no insulation. It can impact your comfort. It can help tip the balance to too hot OR too cold.
And Lastly, it is important to understand the short circuit principle and how it impacts your overall insulation level in your walls and ceiling and how this overall insulation rating is impacted by windows and doors and framing.
This is critical when you contemplate replacing windows. You need all the facts you can muster, to separate out the level of BS perpetrated about windows. Do not invest in windows to save energy until you evaluate these critical bits of information here.
return to structural issues
This needs to be put here, because there is a great deal of money in replacing windows- it is probably a billion dollar economy in America. There are many really good reasons to replace windows. There are also a great many windows replaced for bogus reasons. You need to know. You need to find out before you replace them. We discuss the issues around replacing windows here.
This is actually more critical than insulation in most cases. Your home just can have a serious problem with air infiltration- either conditioned air out or unconditioned air in and you are not feeling a lot of drafts. Maybe if you hold your hand up to the attic access door…. or a wall swithc on a windy day. This is not a problem solved by fiberglass batts. Air infiltration almost always brings a moisture problem with it here in North Texas in the summer. Here is a discussion of air infiltration and issues related to air leaks. return to structural issues
Maybe, you have a window placed in an east or west window, and you are taking in solar gain. This website speaks specifically for home in North Texas and we get a lot of sun in north Texas. In the early morning and in the afternoon, that high sun and noonday is not aimed right in a west facing window. This kind of problem can double team you with the thermal bridging issues above. And you have windows to look out of, not cover up with curtains. There are solutions for a window allowing solar gain and you can start looking here. And pulling the curtains is not a real solution the radiation is pouring in and heating the living space with convection currents even though you have managed to cut off the direct radiation on your skin. Make sure you see the notes on windows. Too many people start thinking about window replacement without considering the up and down sides. There are many easy and effective solutions to limiting solar gain but a great deal of BS flies about here propelled by the large fortunes innocent victims pay for unnecessary window replacement return to structural issues
We get thermal bridging where too much wood connects the outside cladding to the interior of the house. Cut up roof lines, popular in North Texas can create wall section transitions that create wood intense transitions.
Window framing is also a common place where thermal bridging can be an issue. These kinds of issues are more intense in upstairs areas because you might be sitting closer to the radiating body which a thermal bridge creates. We talk about radiation and how energy moves from outdoors to under your skin here.
return to structural issues
We cover issues with leaks and water penetration through the weather barrier elsewhere, but we bring it up here, because wet walls will wet insulation and we insulaton no longer insulates.
You might have issues with wet insulation caused by leaking through the weather shell. Damp insulation does not keep the hot out or the cold out, it just grows mold and rots the studs and plates and sills out. Cut up roofing can create this kind of problem- also issues with water coming in around and through defects in the walls.
I put this note here because it is a possibility, but it is not something you can test on your own- unless you have peeling wallpaper or peeling paint or mildew growth in a pattern on a wall section. This kind of situation needs attention soon and your professional auditor can help you identify this. Thermography would show a wet pattern around a window or along a ceiling. We talk more about leaking issues and solving them here. We talk about the types of services you can get from an energy auditor here. LINK The professional you would want to call would relate to your underlying issue which you need answers for. Are you worried about a leak or are you chasing down a comfort issue…
How did your home get in this condition?
There are a few good service contractors and many pretty poor ones, but even the best have a tendency to see the world through their perspective. So trust but verify and ask questions until you understand. More thoughts on Contractor thinking.
Who are you going to call? Where should you turn for help?
We discuss this at length in our conversation to figure out what kind of professional makes the most sense for you to call if you have a comfort issue. It depends. Let move there. LINK
If you have any comments or questions, add them below.