1. Seal Your Attic. As you know, your attic space gets VERY hot in the summer time, the time of year when energy costs are highest in the Charleston SC area. There are several access points for this super heated air to enter your living area. Anywhere pipes and wiring passes through your attic into your living space, you have HOT air leaking into your home. Also, by adding a foil-like cover to your insulation, you can reduce the temperature of the surface area in contact with your ceiling drywall. This temperature can be reduced by 30 to 40 degrees, thereby requiring your air conditioner to work less to maintain your home at a comfortable temperature.
2. Seal and Enclose Your Crawlspace. Particularly if you have a musty odor, enclosing your crawlspace from the outside, while also ceiling any leaks through plumbing and wiring access points will result in energy savings similarly to ceiling your attic. An improved moisture barrier can be applied that will further reduce crawl space moisture levels. If you have mold in your crawlspace already, this can be treated and then sealed with a non-toxic product that has a lifetime warranty.
3. Bring in Outside Air Pressure Into Your Air Conditioning System. There are a couple of concerns with conventional air conditioning systems. First, if you have leaks, even small ones, in the air ducts in either your attic or your crawlspace, you’re sucking in un-conditioned air into your system. This air could be extremely hot or extremely damp, neither of which are good. Second, if your system is either neutral, or is creating a vacuum, there are un-filtered drafts coming in from outside through your windows, doors, and even your siding/walls. The fix for this is a Filter Fresh Air Ventilation System (provided by Indoor Environmental Systems, Inc), which brings in outdoor air, rather than crawl space or attic air, filters it, and then increases the pressure from within your home so you don’t have outside air coming in. With newer, tighter homes, it’s important to have a supply of fresh air so you aren’t just re-circulating the same stale air over and over.
If you have musty odors in your crawl space, or have family members complaining of allergy symptoms, particularly persistent headaches, your crawlspace and duct work could be the biggest culprit. Certainly pollen is a huge contributor, but eliminating mold from your home can drastically reduce the most severe allergy symptoms, particularly headaches. Many mold remediation companies recommend and install de-humidifiers in the crawlspace. The cost is typically high, and they have to be replaced after 3 to 5 years depending on how much they are running.
According to the EPA, homes experience a “Stack Effect” where air flows from bottom to top in the Summer time. For further explanation of the “Stack Effect”, visit www.indoorenviron.com.