Energy-efficient furnaces, boilers and heat pumps for Phoenix-area homes are an excellent investment. After all, if you can get more heat out of the fuel that goes into your furnace, why not? If your heating system is only a few years old, though, you probably see no reason to replace it. Or maybe you already have installed a condensing gas furnace and now your Central Arizona home is energy efficient. Or is it? The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that as much as 40 percent of your energy dollars – heating and cooling – may be wasted on air leakage and heat loss, through ducts, poor insulation and air infiltration. A 98 percent efficient furnace cannot overcome 40 percent heat loss elsewhere.
While some ducts are out of sight and out of reach, make sure to visually inspect and repair ducts you can get to, such as in the attic, basement or crawlspace, and at registers and vents. Where you can, check for torn flexible ducts. Use mastic or adhesive-backed metal tape for repairs (never standard duct tape). Look for disconnected joints you can reattach and seal. Unkink any flexible ductwork that impedes airflow. Check registers and vents to ensure the ductwork is still attached. Often ducts run perfectly right up to the wall, ceiling or floor where they can dislodge, reducing your furnace’s efficiency.
Consider replacing your rolled batt attic insulation with professionally applied expanding spray foam. Then put the batt insulation back, right on top of the foam. You will increase your home’s insulation envelope at a fraction of the cost of a new high-efficiency furnace. Another useful tool: a radiant barrier on the underside of your roof’s sheathing. This reflects Arizona heat back up through the roof, reducing cooling loads.
After tackling the larger issues, get serious about small openings throughout your home, around windows and doors (including attic access doors). Ensure that weatherstripping around windows and doors, which can break down under Arizona’s strong daylight, is in good repair. Recaulk around stationary seams. This blocks heated air from from escaping in winter, and prevents hot outside air from infiltrating in summer.
For more help with improving the energy efficiency of your central Arizona home, contact us at Wolff Mechanical.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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