Do I need a new Heating System?
There seems to be a backwards relationship in perception of energy efficiency and HVAC systems. In recent times I have been called to homes that have previously replaced all the windows in the home and upgraded the heater, but still complain the house is cold. It’s simple; with the windows you treated a symptom and not a cause of the problem. And in consideration of the upgraded HVAC system, you’re just wasting energy more efficiently. Part of the misconception is if your house is cold you must need a new heater. WRONG, let’s think about keeping the heat you have in the house!
What is the Thermal Shell?
One way to think of it is the HVAC system is the lungs of the house circulating the conditioned air in the house. Your lungs wouldn’t work if it was full of holes leaking the air. The same thing is true for your home. By addressing what we call the “thermal shell” of the home you can achieve the highest sense of comfort & efficiency. Statistics point that the air leakage is the most important factor in efficiency. Minimizing the leakage is key. Often I here as a rebuff to that is well that house needs to breathe. This is correct, but do you need to pay for heating a barn I ask? With proper diagnostic measurements with a certified BPI Energy Auditor you will know at what point the home is so tight that mechanical ventilation needs to enter in the equation. Yes for optimum efficiency you do want to tighten the shell up as much as you can. If you go so far as to fall below the standard for you, your home mechanical introduction of air may help insure good indoor air quality. This is a good topic for another discussion latter, but buy introducing a small amount of fresh air, this still exceeds in performance and savings compared to a leaky home.
Fix My Leaky Home
So what does the tightness of the home have to do with the heating system you ask? A lot! You pay to condition the air either with a furnace or boiler and AC. Why waste the actual resource and as well as the financial resource in a leaky home. What we find is that if you address the leakiness of the home, the heating system will operate less and be more efficient. When a new system is deemed needed, an upgraded high efficiency unit will give you the true efficiency it is capable of delivering. Because the system operates as it is designed, often you do not need the larger unit. This is a savings due to increased performance by sealing the house. So when you think you need a new HVAC system, stop for a moment and think, what about the “skin” of the house.