The stack effect is probably a term you don’t hear very often, but it occurs in our homes every single day and can have a significant impact on the temperature and air quality in our homes. The stack effect is known as the movement of air in and out of our homes and buildings. This movement is a result in the difference in the temperature between the inside of your home and the climate outside. It happens when the temperature outside is a lot lower than the temperature inside. Cold air is more dense than warm air, so when cold air comes into the lower level of a structure, it will force the warm air up. When this happens, an airflow is created and will pull even more cold air inside and will make drafts stronger. Taller properties, like two-story homes and high rise buildings act like huge chimneys that funnel warm air up until it eventually exits the structure completely.
Why is the Stack Effect a Problem?
There are three forces that move air through a house. The HVAC equipment, wind, and the stack effect. Your furnace is what fills your home with warm air. The rest of your home has to do its job to keep the warm air inside. If not, that warm air that you’re paying for will be sent to heat the outside. The stack effect leads to treated air being lost. This means wasted energy not to mention higher heating bills. This problem can get worse over time and when the air flow gets really strong, it will increase the pressure on the foundation of the property resulting in fine cracks, crumbling masonry and splitting weather-stripping. Any areas that are vulnerable when these drafts barely get through will get wider and expand with constant pressure. The airflow will intensify and cause accelerated loss of energy.
Is There a Solution to the Stack Effect?
The stack effect has a negative effect in the winter and summer when it reverses. No matter what the season is, the best solution is to air-seal the house and minimize any gaps between indoor and outdoor spaces. Another way to correct this problem to insulate. When warm air moves, it will keep going to the highest point of the structure with the stack effect. This point can be the attic where the warm air escapes through cracks in the ceiling, leaky air ducts, light fixtures that are recessed or through insufficient insulation on the attic floor. When it gets to the attic, it gets to the outdoors by way of any tiny vulnerability it can find. You should make sure that all drafts are sealed and make sure the insulation is maintained through your home. The barrier between the top floor and attic in the most important layer in winning the war against the stack effect. Contact a professional if you can’t find the air leaks or if you think the insulation in your home has degraded. They will look at the insulation, find the problem areas and come up with solutions to make sure the top layer of your home is sealed correctly.
Central Air Conditioning & Heating Services in Las Vegas Valley, Summerlin, North LV & Henderson Nevada
The stack effect isn’t good news for your HVAC system and your budget because your system has to work harder, costing more money and increasing your energy bills. To have your home evaluated or if you have any questions, you can give Air Supply Heating & Cooling a call.