Energy Efficient Home Improvement: How Your House’s Foundation Affects Cooling and Heating Costs

When most people discuss energy efficiency, we are considering the things within the house: the dryer and washer which may stand to use somewhat less electricity, or the heating system that has been hanging around since the 90s. And these jobs surely make a difference–for example, a greater rated HVAC system may save homeowners over $115 annually in their yearly heating and cooling expenses.

However, the reality is that your house’s structure plays a huge role in your energy usage, also. Modern architects have developed wise to this truth, and lots of new developers utilize advanced building techniques such as thermal envelopes, air sealing, and better insulation to assist homeowners in these websites attain a much better energy profile. However, what often goes unmentioned is the way even a home’s base–a part of the building envelope–may affect heating and cooling expenses, especially in older buildings using uninsulated foundations. And damaged base can cause important difficulties, not only endangering the structural integrity of your house, but also creating air flows which may gradually inch your heating up and cooling bills.

Let us take a peek at how this all-important construction feature impacts the comfort of your house–and your utility costs–especially in regards to your heating and cooling bills.

Damaged Foundation May Lead to Air Sealing Issues

As stated previously, a house with a tight building envelope boosts the efficiency of your AC and heating equipment. The reverse is also true: a house with a great deal of openings or cracks at the seals around windows and doors will be subject to drafts, in addition to heating and cooling loss. This will also make a house completely uncomfortable in extreme temperatures. Homes with crumbling foundations frequently find themselves coping with a ton more of those cracks and gaps. Specifically, here is how damaged base can impact your home’s heating and cooling performance.

Sloping Floors May Boost Air Infiltration. Foundation issues are available in many types, and the consequences are not always immediately evident. 1 common concern, especially in older houses, is a sloping or unleveled flooring. Even though a sloping floor is not always proof positive of a base issue, it could result from breaking or crumbling bases–particularly in houses with brick or stone foundations. Sloping floors become a problem for the HVAC when they make gaps between the door jamb and the ground, permitting conditioned air to float through. The shifting structure may also cause cracks to form across doors and windows, also. If you observe that your home’s flooring are sloping–and also see that a continuous increase in your utility bills–your very best option is to either inspect your base for indications of harm, or possess a structural engineer see to execute a professional review for you, only a head’s up, however: it costs around $500 to $700 to have a specialist base inspection performed.

Extreme Foundation Issues Can Even Reduce Your HVAC System Off Balance. With acute foundation difficulties, ducts can finally separate from one another, which induces equilibrium and level issues inside the HVAC system. Imbalances such as these result in a rapid decrease in HVAC functionality and overall diminished relaxation during a house. The best prescription is a complete base inspection, particularly in the event that you see other indications of base problems, like cracks in the walls, doorways which will no longer remain closed, and cracks in floor coverings–especially ceramic or vinyl tiles.

Foundation, Insulation and Your HVAC System

Homes retain a whole lot more heating and cooling when base walls–as well as the base itself–are all insulated. Appropriate foundation insulation retains below-ground rooms more comfortable all year long, and it saves energy in case you’ve conditioned spaces in the cellar, also. The perfect sort of insulation is dependent upon your house, its structure, and your individual sort of base. Newer houses are usually built with insulating material in the base itself, using substances such as insulation concrete forms and concrete cubes. Older homes can be retrofitted with the addition of insulation to the outside or interior basement walls and crawl spaces, or simply by incorporating stiff foam board around the outside of the property’s base underground.

Regrettably, retrofitting your house in this manner can become pretty costly, depending on how your home is constructed and how profoundly the building team must dig to put in the foam board. But it is well worth it in some instances, especially when you’ve got high heating and cooling expenses or basement moisture problems, or if you’re considering completing the cellar into a conditioned living area. Since the base is such an essential part of your house’s construction, you should always check with a professional structural engineer prior to deciding to make such a shift.

The key takeaway here is that each and every component of your house–in the ducts and windows, right down to the floor and base–makes a difference in your home’s energy intake and finally impacts how much you spend monthly on cooling and heating. If you are interested in knowing more about ways to boost your HVAC system’s functionality, check out our record of HVAC posts or see our HVAC price calculator to get a quote for a brand new unit now. After all, in regards to your home’s energy consumption, knowing is half the battle!