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The Stack Effect: Why your home is energy in-efficient

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 by Erin Dougherty & Tyler Tetreault


The Stack Effect is a driving force behind explaining why your home is so energy in-efficient and uncomfortable.

When you look at making your home more energy-efficient and comfortable, it is extremely important to understand how your home operates as a system and the Building Science behind it. The Stack Effect is a driving force in understanding how energy is lost in your home.

I think most of us have heard that warm air rises. Well, this is because warm air is lighter or more buoyant than cold air. When we heat our homes, that warm air rises to the top of our home and creates positive pressure. With dozens of un-sealed ceiling locations…. Top plates, electrical and plumbing penetrations, can light fixtures, bath fan housings, and HVAC ceiling registers…. that positive pressure pushes our conditioned air through the leaky, un-sealed ceiling locations and into our attic spaces. Since the attic is vented, think of the attic space as outside. The air that leaks out takes your heat, comfort, and money with it.

Whenever air leaks out of our homes, new air must replace it. This new un-conditioned air is pulled in through the bottoms of our homes due to the negative pressure that’s been created by the air leaking out of the top of our homes. The only reason outside air leaks in is because inside air leaked out.

This means in the winter months; we’re experiencing cold air leaking in….and hot and humid air leaking in during the summer months. Once we heat the cold air leaking in so we can be comfortable for a short while, it rises to the top of our homes and leaks out again. Then new outside air leaks in at the bottom to replace it, again. The cycle never ends.

Not only does the Stack Effect tell us what’s happening in our homes, but it also tells us where to start in fixing them. If no air leaked out, there wouldn’t be any room for new air to leak in. With that being said, we know that air sealing leaks at the top of our homes will make rooms at the bottom of our homes less drafty and more comfortable without touching the bottom half of the home.

Air sealing leaks at the top of your home is a one and done lifetime repair, that will make you more comfortable and save you money. If you’re interested in knowing how the Stack Effect is impacting your home’s efficiency and your comfort, give us a call to schedule your free home energy evaluation!

Air Leakage in a home

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Toano, VA 23168
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Toano, VA 23168
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