Author Archives: ACT Home Energy Specialists

Is Foil Roll Insulation Any Good?

Foil roll insulation

Understanding Foil Roll Insulation: A Buyer’s Guide

In the quest for energy efficiency and comfortable living spaces, homeowners explore various insulation options. Foil roll insulation, also known as reflective insulation or radiant barrier, has gained popularity due to its ease of installation and affordability. But is foil roll insulation truly effective? This comprehensive guide dives into the world of foil roll insulation, analyzing its advantages, limitations, and suitability for different applications.

How Does Foil Roll Insulation Work?

Foil roll insulation typically consists of one or two layers of reflective aluminum foil with air bubbles trapped in between. The reflective surface functions by reflecting radiant heat, transferring it back to the source instead of allowing it to pass through. In the summer, it reflects heat radiating from the sun, keeping your home cooler. Conversely, in the winter, it reflects heat radiating from your interior heating sources back into your living space.

Types of Foil Roll Insulation

Foil roll insulation comes in various formats to suit different applications:

  • Single-sided Foil: This basic type consists of aluminum foil laminated to a backing material like kraft paper or scrim. It’s suitable for use in attics, behind walls, and crawl spaces.
  • Double-sided Foil: This variation features aluminum foil on both sides, offering enhanced reflective properties. It’s commonly used in attics and pole barns.
  • Bubble Wrap with Foil Facing: This type combines bubble wrap’s insulating properties with the reflective properties of aluminum foil. It’s often used in attics, underfloor applications, and even inside air ducts (refer to local building codes for air duct applications).

Advantages of Foil Roll Insulation

Foil roll insulation offers several benefits for homeowners:

  • Cost-Effective: Compared to traditional batt insulation like fiberglass, foil roll insulation is generally less expensive. This makes it an attractive option for budget-conscious homeowners.
  • Easy Installation: Foil roll insulation is lightweight and comes in rolls, making it easy to cut and install. DIY enthusiasts can often tackle installation themselves, potentially saving on labor costs.
  • Space-Saving: Foil roll insulation is thin compared to traditional batt insulation. This can be advantageous in applications where space is limited, such as attics with low rafters or crawl spaces.
  • Moisture Resistance: The aluminum foil surface resists moisture infiltration, helping to protect your home from mold and mildew growth. However, it’s not entirely waterproof, and proper ventilation is still crucial.

Limitations of Foil Roll Insulation

While foil roll insulation offers advantages, it’s essential to understand its limitations:

  • Low R-Value: R-value measures a material’s thermal resistance, with higher numbers indicating greater insulating power. Foil roll insulation typically has a low R-value on its own (around 1-2). This means it relies primarily on reflecting radiant heat rather than providing traditional insulation through trapped air.
  • Limited Effectiveness in Cold Climates: In extremely cold climates, dependence solely on reflecting heat back into the home might not be sufficient. Foil roll insulation can be more effective when used in conjunction with traditional batt insulation for a layered approach.
  • Relies on Air Gap: For optimal performance, foil roll insulation requires an air gap between the reflective surface and the element being insulated (wall cavity, attic rafter, etc.). Without this air gap, its reflective properties are significantly reduced.
  • Not a DIY Solution for All Applications: While some applications like attics might be suitable for DIY foil roll insulation installation, proper installation in walls or crawl spaces might require expertise to ensure it meets building code requirements and functions effectively.

Is Foil Roll Insulation Right for You?

The suitability of foil roll insulation depends on several factors:

  • Climate: In hot climates where heat gain is a primary concern, foil roll insulation can be a good option, especially when paired with proper ventilation strategies. In very cold climates, it might require additional traditional insulation for optimal performance.
  • Application: Foil roll insulation is most effective in attics, crawl spaces, pole barns, and behind garage walls. It’s generally not suitable for exterior walls due to its low R-Value and the need for an air gap, which can be challenging to maintain in exterior applications.
  • Budget: If budget is a primary concern, foil roll insulation can be an attractive option due to its affordability. However, remember that it might require additional insulation materials in certain applications to achieve optimal results.

Alternatives to Foil Roll Insulation

While foil roll insulation has its merits, several alternative insulation options offer different benefits and might be better suited for specific applications:

  • Fiberglass Batt Insulation: A popular and cost-effective choice, fiberglass batts offer good R-values and are suitable for attics, walls, and crawl spaces. However, they can be susceptible to moisture absorption and require proper ventilation.
  • Rockwool Insulation: Made from natural volcanic rock, rockwool offers excellent fire resistance, soundproofing properties, and good R-values. It’s a more eco-friendly alternative to fiberglass but can be slightly more expensive.
  • Spray Foam Insulation: Applied as a liquid that expands to fill cavities, spray foam insulation offers excellent R-values, air sealing properties, and moisture resistance. However, professional installation is typically required, and it can be a more expensive option.
  • Rigid Board Insulation: Available in various materials like polyisocyanurate (PIR) or extruded polystyrene (XPS), rigid board insulation offers high R-values and good moisture resistance. It’s often used in foundations, basements, and under slabs.

Choosing the Right Insulation: Consult a Professional

Selecting the most suitable insulation material for your home requires careful consideration of various factors like climate, application, budget, and desired performance characteristics. Consulting a qualified insulation contractor or building professional can be invaluable. They can assess your specific needs, recommend the most appropriate insulation type and R-value for your climate and application, and ensure proper installation to maximize its effectiveness.

Remember: Foil roll insulation can be a budget-friendly and easy-to-install solution for specific applications, particularly in hot climates. However, it has limitations and might require additional insulation materials in certain situations. Weighing the pros and cons, considering alternatives, and consulting a professional will ensure you choose the most effective insulation solution for your home’s needs.


Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of foil roll insulation empowers you to make informed decisions about your home’s insulation strategy. By considering your climate, application, budget, and consulting a professional, you can choose the most suitable insulation material to create a comfortable, energy-efficient living space. For a roll-on foil barrier in Fort Worth, TX, please give our friendly office staff a call at 817-781-8781.

Insulating Your Home: Key Steps to Improving Energy Efficiency

installing insulation into the interior walls of a home

Ways to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Improving your home’s insulation is one of the most effective ways to enhance energy efficiency and comfort. Proper insulation helps maintain your home’s temperature, reducing the need for heating in the winter and cooling in the summer, leading to significant energy savings. Here are key steps to insulate your home effectively:

1. Assess Your Current Insulation

Start by evaluating your existing insulation to identify areas that need improvement. Many homes, especially older ones, are under-insulated. Check the attic, walls, floors, and basements for insulation presence and condition. An energy audit can provide a detailed analysis of your home’s insulation needs.

2. Seal Air Leaks

Before adding new insulation, it’s crucial to seal any air leaks around doors, windows, and places where pipes and wires enter the house. Use weather stripping, caulking, or spray foam to seal these leaks. This step prevents warm or cool air from escaping, enhancing the effectiveness of your insulation.

3. Upgrade Attic Insulation

Heat rises, and without proper attic insulation, it can easily escape. Adding or upgrading attic insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Materials commonly used for attic insulation include fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam.

4. Insulate Walls

Adding insulation to exterior walls can significantly reduce heat loss. For existing homes, blown-in cellulose or injection foam insulation can be added without extensive demolition. For new construction or renovations, consider batts or spray foam insulation for better thermal performance.

5. Improve Floor Insulation

Insulating under floors above unheated spaces, like garages or crawl spaces, can improve comfort and save energy. Use insulation batts or rigid foam boards, and make sure to seal any gaps where air can leak.

More Ways to Enhance Energy Efficiency

6. Consider Insulating Basements and Crawl Spaces

Insulating basements and crawl spaces can prevent cold floors and reduce energy loss. Use rigid foam insulation on walls and seal any gaps with caulk or spray foam. In crawl spaces, consider adding a vapor barrier to prevent moisture issues.

7. Install Energy-Efficient Windows and Doors

While not strictly insulation, replacing old windows and doors with energy-efficient models can significantly reduce energy loss. Look for products with double or triple-pane glass and low-emissivity (Low-E) coatings.

8. Use Insulating Window Treatments

Thermal curtains, cellular shades, and other insulating window treatments can provide an additional barrier against heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.

9. Reflective Insulation and Radiant Barriers

In hot climates, reflective insulation or radiant barriers in the attic can reflect heat away from your home, reducing cooling costs. These materials are usually installed on the underside of the roof.

10. Monitor and Maintain

Regularly check the condition of your insulation and air sealing. Over time, insulation can settle, and new leaks can form, reducing efficiency. An annual inspection can help ensure your insulation remains in top condition.

Final Thoughts

Improving your home’s insulation requires an upfront investment but can lead to substantial long-term savings on energy bills. Each home is unique, so consider consulting with an insulation professional or conducting a home energy audit to determine the best approach for your situation. By prioritizing areas of your home that are typically responsible for the most significant heat loss or gain, you can strategically improve your home’s energy efficiency and comfort.

What is a Total Duct Leakage Test?

view from below of an air duct

What is the importance of total duct leakage testing?

When your HVAC system isn’t evenly cooling or heating your home, there may not be anything wrong with the HVAC system. Often, the problem is that the treated air isn’t being evenly distributed through the air duct system. At this point, an option such as duct leak testing in Fort Worth, TX may be worth considering. If you find yourself in need of this service, our team can always be there to help. Reach out today at 817-781-8781 if you would like to learn more.

Are there different types of duct leakage tests?

The goal of duct leak testing is simple, starting with finding if there is any leak, which is done by measuring the airflow.  This can be done in one of the following methods:

  • A duct leakage tester with a blower door
  • A flow hood
  • A blower door with a pressure pan
  • A blower door only 

There are two types of air duct leaks: benign and malignant. It is the malignant leaks that are the leaks to be concerned with because they send conditioned air into unconditioned spaces, in short, wasting energy. 

Which method of duct leak testing is performed will be determined by which type of leak the technician is seeking. Because the benign duct leak isn’t as big of a concern, because it is within the duct system, the most common type of duct leak testing is done by the duct leak tester with a blower door. 

What is the standard process of duct leak testing? 

In the first step in air duct leak testing, the technician will seal all the openings with HVAC tape in the duct system, including the return and supply registers. This step in the process is the most time-consuming part of duct leak testing. 

Next, the fan is turned on to depressurize the duct system to a rating of less than 25 pascals. This is the amount of air measured that moves through the fan, referred to as the CFM. This is an important number in calculating any duct leak measurement.

What are the standards for duct leakage testing?

The IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) requires building thermal envelope testing to fall per the following guidelines:

  • ASTM E779
  • ASTM E3158
  • ASTM E1827 

These guidelines state that the measured air leakage does not exceed a measurement of 0.40 CFM75/ft2. 

How long does an air duct leak test take?

A professional air duct leak testing on an average-sized home will typically take up to 2 hours.  The results of the air duct leak testing are usually available on the spot and the technician will email a copy of the report to you as well. 

How much does duct leak testing cost?

This can vary based on the size of the house, but on average, the cost for a typical-sized home for duct leak testing can range between $500 and $1,500.

How much duct leakage is normal?

Any time a new HVAC system is installed, the contractor will either perform air duct leak testing or recommend you have a third party perform the test. If the results are at 15% or higher of leakage, the air ducts should be repaired or replaced. 

Once this is completed, the homeowner should have a third party perform another air duct leak testing to ensure that there is less leaking, ideally no more than 6%. 

What are the benefits of air duct leak testing? 

There are three key benefits to having duct leak testing done for your home, and as a homeowner,  you’ll find these to be the best reasons: 

  • ENERGY EFFICIENCY: This is the best reason to have air duct leak testing performed. When there are gaps or leaks in the duct system, the conditioned air leaks into the space around the duct instead of getting to the living area below. Thus, you’re adjusting the thermostat constantly which results in higher energy bills and causes the HVAC system to work harder and longer to reach the desired temperature.
  • IMPROVED COMFORT: Air duct leak testing will let you know what needs to be repaired or replaced. This will lead to your home being more comfortable with each room evenly cooled or heated. 
  • INDOOR AIR QUALITY ENHANCED: Air duct leak testing will let you know that the ducts need to be repaired or replaced to prevent allergens, dust, and other pollutants from infiltrating your home. These are issues that can hurt your home’s indoor air quality, affecting the health of your family. 

Closing The Gap

How often should you have duct leak testing done? There isn’t a recommended schedule for duct leak testing as with changing or cleaning the air filter (which is every 30 days) or the annual professional inspection and cleaning of your HVAC system.  But there are indications that you may benefit from air duct leak testing, such as: 

  • Your energy bills have increased more than normal.
  • The home isn’t evenly cooled or heated, some rooms are cooler/warmer than others.
  • Every room isn’t consistently at a comfortable temperature.
  • A visual inspection by you, or your HVAC technician finds broken, loose, tangled, twisted, or torn sections of the ductwork.

At the end of the day, air duct leak testing is a benefit to your home and your family, both financially and health-wise. If you would like to get help from a professional, just reach out to our team. Call today at 817-781-8781 if you would like to schedule this service.

What is a Radiant Barrier?

a radiant barrier inside an attic

How Do Radiant Barriers Work?

You may have heard about radiant barriers, but understanding how they work and what they do for your home can be a little bit confusing. A radiant barrier is essentially a type of building material that is designed to reduce the transfer of heat within a home, and it does this by reflecting radiant heat, hence the name of the material. Generally, it is installed within the attic of a home or on the underside of a roof to help with controlling the flow of heat and is an especially great choice for use in hot climates. This is why you may want to consider a radiant barrier in Fort Worth, TX or the surrounding area. 

What Do Radiant Barriers Help With?

Radiant barriers are especially effective in hot and sunny climates. They help reduce cooling costs by reflecting a significant portion of the sun’s radiant heat away from the building’s interior. This prevents the heat from entering the living spaces, keeping them cooler and reducing the need for air conditioning. As a result, homeowners can experience lower energy bills during the summer months. This also makes them an especially eco-friendly option, as they can help to significantly lower your energy usage. 

By reducing the amount of radiant heat entering your indoor spaces, radiant barriers can also help you to maintain a more comfortable indoor temperature. This can lead to a more pleasant living environment, especially in rooms or areas that are prone to overheating due to direct exposure to the sun. Suffice it to say, if you have found yourself dealing with problems keeping your home cool enough, even when using your air conditioning system, a radiant barrier can be a good choice. 

Also important to remember is that while radiant barriers are most commonly used for their cooling abilities, they can also provide some help with insulation during the cool winter months. By reflecting heat back into the living spaces, they can help maintain indoor warmth and reduce heating costs to a certain extent.

What is a Radiant Barrier Made From?

A radiant barrier can be made from a few different types of materials. Radiant barriers are typically made from a highly reflective material that is designed to reflect radiant heat. The most common material used for radiant barriers is aluminum foil, which is often laminated onto a substrate material for added strength and durability. Bearing that in mind, here is a look at some of the different types of substrate materials that are used for radiant barriers:

  • Cardboard: Radiant barriers may have an aluminum foil layer laminated to cardboard, making them lightweight and ensuring an easy application process during installation. Cardboard-backed radiant barriers are often used in residential applications.
  • Plastic Film: Some radiant barriers use a plastic film as the substrate. This plastic film can provide additional resistance to moisture, which can be important in certain situations.
  • Kraft Paper: Radiant barriers may also use kraft paper as the substrate material. Kraft paper-backed radiant barriers are often used in commercial and industrial settings, though they can also be used in homes.
  • Plywood: Plywood radiant barriers are also available – this is an option called radiant barrier sheathing. It is constructed of aluminum layers that are bonded to sheets of engineered wood.

Another option that has seen more use in recent years is crafted from silver, which is the primary type of reflective component that is used in radiant barrier chips. This is a unique option that is typically used in smaller spaces that larger types of radiant barriers will not fit into.

Because there are a variety of options available, the heating and cooling technician that you work with for the installation of a radiant barrier can help in determining which type of radiant barrier will be right for your individual needs.

Can You Use Radiant Barriers Instead of Insulation?

It is important to remember that a radiant barrier is not an alternative to insulation. While a radiant barrier can provide you with important protection from the elements, it will still not do all the work that insulation does in preventing heat and cool air from escaping your home. Because of this, even if you are using a radiant barrier you still need to be certain that you have high-quality insulation installed throughout your home. A technician can determine where in your home or building you may want to consider the installation of materials such as a radiant barrier to help with protection from the heat.

If you are interested in a radiant barrier in Fort Worth, TX or the surrounding area, you can reach out to our team. Give us a call at 817-781-8781 to learn more about the options available to you.

Do I Need to Replace My Attic Insulation?

worker installing attic insulation

Is High-Quality Attic Insulation Important? 

Attic insulation provides an important barrier between your home and the elements outdoors. Because of that, when your attic insulation begins to deteriorate, you can experience a number of issues. Often, homeowners end up using far more energy than they would otherwise when they have insufficient attic insulation. This is because they need to turn up the air conditioning or the heating to keep their home at a comfortable temperature because of the amount of air that is leaking out of their home through their attic. Another common problem that homeowners may find themselves dealing with is an accumulation of moisture in their attic, which can lead to a number of serious problems including roof damage along with a buildup of mold and mildew. Meanwhile, anybody who is thinking of selling their home should be mindful of whether they have poor attic insulation because this is often an important selling point for potential homebuyers. Read on if you would like to learn more about when you should be reaching out for help with attic insulation in Fort Worth, TX or the surrounding area.

How Much Attic Insulation Do I Need?

Homeowners are likely to have a lot of questions when it comes to attic insulation, including whether they have enough in their homes and how much attic insulation they actually need. The truth is, there are actually a lot of different factors that can affect how much attic insulation you need in your home. One of the biggest factors that can affect the amount of attic insulation required in your home is the number of walls, as well as the length and width of your walls. The number of windows and the number of doors in your home is also important to take into account. Perhaps one of the most important things that will need to be considered is the climate that your home is located in, as this can make a big difference when it comes to how much attic insulation you need. 

The truth is, only a qualified technician can accurately determine whether you have an appropriate amount of attic insulation in your home, so if you aren’t certain if you have the correct amount it’s always best to reach out to a professional so they can conduct an assessment and determine whether more is needed, whether you may need more attic insulation is installed, and if your current attic insulation is in good enough condition to protect your home.

What Kinds of Attic Insulation Are Available?

There are many different kinds of attic insulation available on the market today, and the type that is best for your home can also depend on a few different factors. A technician can help you to determine which one is best for your home and for your particular needs. Bearing this in mind, here is a look at some of the most commonly used types of attic insulation.

  • Fiberglass insulation: This remains an incredibly popular choice, in large part because it is a highly cost-effective option. It also has great longevity, being able to last for upwards of 100 years in many cases before replacement is required.
  • Cellulose insulation: Many homeowners enjoy cellulose insulation because it is made from recycled materials, making it a more eco-friendly option than others available on the market. However, it does not provide the same longevity as some other materials, as it may only last for upwards of 30 years.
  • Foam insulation: This is one of the most highly effective types of attic insulation available on the market today. In many cases, it may be able to last for the lifetime of your home, as it adheres incredibly well to other surfaces and does not degrade easily. 

Another thing to bear in mind is that in addition to the types of attic insulation, each option comes in various forms. The technician that you work with will also assist in helping you choose the form that will work best for your attic. 

Does My Attic Have Insulation Issues?

It can be difficult to know whether your attic actually has insulation problems. If you have an older home and you have never had the insulation in your attic inspected or replaced, it is often worth reaching out to a professional for a consultation. This is because older homes are likely to have insulation that has degraded or in some situations, they may have no insulation at all. Otherwise, use your best judgment. If you have noticed any problems such as an increase in your energy usage that isn’t being caused by issues such as problems with your HVAC ductwork, you may need to take a look at the insulation in your attic.

If you need help with your attic insulation, our team can be there for you. Just give us a call today at 817-781-8781 if you would like to learn more about our services.

What Kind of Problems Can Leaking HVAC Ducts Cause?

worker inspection HVAC ducts

What is the Purpose of HVAC Ducts?

While you may think a lot about your home’s heating and cooling system, you may not think as much about your HVAC ducts. However, these are an incredibly important part of your home’s air conditioning and heating system. The HVAC ducts are the part of your system that actually delivers the air throughout your home, so it’s not an understatement to say that without the HVAC ducts working properly, you wouldn’t have a functional HVAC system. This is why it’s so important to think about services such as HVAC duct sealing when you are experiencing issues with the ducts in your home. Read on to learn more about when you may want to consider HVAC duct sealing in Fort Worth, TX or the surrounding area. 

How Do You Know When Your HVAC Ducts Are Leaking?

Detecting leaking HVAC ducts is important both for the energy efficiency of your home and for your overall air quality. Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to help identify whether you are dealing with leaking HVAC ducts in your home. Things to watch out for include:

  • Increased utility bills: You may notice an issue such as a significant increase in your heating or cooling bill, which may be caused by your system having to work harder than usual to maintain your desired temperature. 
  • Uneven temperature distribution: Some rooms in your home may be warmer or cooler than others. This can be caused because a leak in your HVAC ducts can keep the air from moving properly to some of these rooms.
  • Hissing or whistling sounds: Another obvious sign of a potential leak is a hissing or whistling sound coming from the HVAC ducts themselves. 
  • Visible duct damage: Obvious signs of damage to the ducts such as cracks or corrosion should always be an indicator that you may require HVAC duct sealing or even HVAC duct replacement.
  • Musty odors: If you notice musty or unpleasant odors that seem to appear primarily when you turn on your air conditioning or heating system, this could be an indicator that contaminants are entering into your ducts through leaks and escaping back into your home.

These are all good signs that you may be experiencing issues and should not be ignored. If you suspect you are experiencing issues that may require HVAC duct sealing, one of the best things that you can do is to reach out to a professional for an inspection to determine what should be done to take care of the problem. 

What is HVAC Duct Sealing?

HVAC duct sealing is the process of closing or sealing any leaks, gaps, or openings in the air ducts of a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The primary goal of duct sealing is to prevent the unintentional escape or entry of air through these openings. HVAC duct sealing methods can vary depending on the type of ductwork you have in your home and various other factors but typically involve a few different steps. 

Typically, the HVAC duct sealing process will begin with a thorough inspection of your HVAC ductwork. During this process, the HVAC technician will identify where there are areas that need to be taken care of. Before sealing, it’s essential to clean the ducts to ensure that the sealing material adheres properly and to remove any debris that may have accumulated.

Technicians use appropriate materials like mastic sealant, HVAC tape, or aeroseal to seal the identified leaks and gaps. These materials are incredibly durable and long-lasting so you can be certain that your ductwork will be able to stand up to many more years of use. After sealing, the HVAC system is usually retested to ensure that the leaks have been fully sealed and that the airflow is improved.

Is HVAC Duct Sealing Worth It?

Many people wonder whether it is worth it to invest in HVAC duct sealing, or whether they should simply opt for an HVAC duct replacement. It is true that an HVAC duct replacement may be the better option in many situations. For example, if your HVAC ducts are in extremely poor condition, HVAC duct sealing may not be able to get them in good enough condition. In this case, it may be best to simply invest in an HVAC duct replacement. However, HVAC duct sealing can be a great choice if you simply have a few leaks that need to be taken care of. In situations such as these, HVAC duct sealing can save you a lot of money and will help keep your HVAC ductwork functioning the way that it should be for many years. 

Our team can be there to provide assistance if you’re interested in HVAC duct sealing in Fort Worth, TX or the surrounding area. If you’d like to learn more about this option, we invite you to give us a call at 817-781-8781

Do Radiant Barriers Really Work?

Radiant Barrier Installed in an Attic

What are radiant barriers?

Radiant barriers are made from a highly reflective material and installed in the attic of homes. The reflective material typically is an aluminum foil that is applied to a substrate material like cardboard, kraft paper, oriented strand board, or plastic film. Some are reinforced with fiber to increase durability. 

Can other types of materials be used in conjunction with radiant barriers? 

Yes, radiant barriers can be used in combination with other reflective insulation materials. When used with other materials, the radiant barriers should be installed on the thermal side as the facing material.

How does a radiant barrier work?

It is important to state that for the best results, use the services of an experienced contractor that is certified, licensed, and insured.  If you’re considering radiant barriers for a new build, this is the easier way and the builder will be certified. The radiant barrier material comes in a roll and is draped between the roof rafters. This minimizes dust accumulation on the reflective side and the roof sheathing is installed next. 

In an existing home,  there are two methods of installing radiant barriers. The first is to staple the foil side to the roof rafter’s underside. The other method is to lay the radiant barrier material over the existing insulation in the attic. 

What are the benefits of using a radiant barrier?

After a cold winter in Texas, many of us are ready when the season changes and summer comes right after spring. However, we want our homes cool after being out in the heat all day, and radiant barriers are an ideal method of insulating the home against the hot summer heat. Some benefits of radiant barriers include: 

#1 A Safe Addition 

Adding radiant barriers to your home is a safe and smart choice. They are non-carcinogenic and non-toxic. But because they are installed in the attic or within the framework, there is little chance you or anyone in your home will come in contact with the material.  And if you are in the attic, it is usually installed within the framework or within the attic rafters. 

#2 Reduces Heat

When radiant barriers are installed within the attic framework, they reflect the summer UV heat rays away, back into the atmosphere. Radiant barriers are a protective shield for your home. Radiant barriers will keep your home cool on the hottest summer days using emissivity and reflectivity.  

#3 Saves Energy & Money

One thing homeowners do not like about summer are the utility bills. With radiant barriers installed, the UV rays of the sun are reflected back into the atmosphere, which reduces the amount the air conditioning needs, which reduces the cost of your utility bills. 

#4 Work With Other Types Of Insulation

Radiant barriers don’t have to replace your current insulation! They make other types more effective. Whereas other types of insulation traps air, resulting in reducing convection heat transfer with air movement to slow air movement. Radiant barriers reflect the heat back out. Working together, you have two forces keeping your home cooler. 

#5 A Permanent Fixture

Radiant barriers are a permanent fixture in your home. They are durable and strong materials with a long lifespan with no maintenance.  Another benefit to radiant barriers: they are pest-proof, something other insulation materials can’t offer.  

What are the limitations of using a radiant barrier?

While there are many benefits to radiant barriers, there are also downsides which include: 

  • Radiant barriers aren’t the best in winter weather because it reflects the heat back into the atmosphere. Not an ideal insulation method in areas where cold weather is prominent.
  • Radiant barriers don’t work well with certain building proportions. For reasons that haven’t been defined yet, they increase heat movement which reduces their efficiency. 
  • The slope of the roof and the type of roofing shingles installed, along with attic ventilation can affect how much heat is reflected.
  • In areas where winter is the more prominent weather, additional insulation is needed, costing the homeowner more money. 
  • Moisture collects frequently on the interior surface caused by water vapor that evaporated from inside the house and rose to the attic. That moisture is resisted by radiant barriers, which causes the moisture to slide off the radiant barrier and into the attic, where mildew and mold can form. 

What is the cost of installing a radiant barrier? 

The cost of having radiant barriers installed can vary based on the square footage of the house. It is recommended as any other significant improvement to your home to get three or four quotes and compare the pricing, warranty, and other factors before making that purchase.

A Radiant Barrier

In Closing: Are Radiant Barriers A Health Risk?

Like anything in your home, you want to make sure it is safe for your family. No, because radiant barriers do not contain any type of toxins, there is nothing to irritate the eyes, lungs, or skin. 

If you are interested in installing a radiant barrier in Fort Worth, TX, give ACT Home Energy Specialists a call at 817-781-8781.

How Do You Check for Duct Leaks?

A Technician Repairs an Air Duct Leak.

Checking for Air Duct Leaks

A home with central heating and air conditioning has an air duct network that guides the treated air throughout the house through air vents in each room.  These ducts are made of aluminum and galvanized steel traditionally. The ducts are mounted usually in the attic on a stationary surface to keep them from vibrating. However, they can come loose or can begin to wear thin as they age. The best way to determine if the air ducts are working properly is with air duct leak testing. 

Are there other types of materials used for air ducts? 

When you have an HVAC system installed, the professional contractor will discuss other choices in air duct material and recommend the best type for your home. The other choices in air duct material include: 

  • Fiberboard Air Ducts

Made with fiberglass and resin then an insulation of foil is added. The downside to this type of air duct material is the rough interior made by the fiberglass strands catches debris and dust blowing through the ducts. This will eventually lower the efficiency level of the air ducts. This material is also susceptible to mildew and mold forming. The positives to this type of air duct it is less expensive and more flexible to fit around tight areas in the attic. 

  • Fiberglass Air Ducts

Constructed much like the galvanized metal air duct but has a fiberglass lining added to minimize heat loss. Because of the interior lining, when there is possible air duct leak testing and cleaning needed, it needs to be done by a professional contractor. This type of air duct system is popular in commercial structures and office buildings. 

  • Flexible Air Ducts

These air ducts are not rigid like the other air duct types we’ve mentioned. They are constructed with a steel spring coil and then covered in thick plastic. These are popular in structures with tight spaces. are easy to install, and another benefit, they are less expensive. They can be punctured easily though, and during the installation process, they can become kinked or start to sag, resulting in an air duct leak. Testing and repairing those leaks is important in order to get the most from these air ducts. 

What is air duct leak testing and how is air duct leak testing conducted? 

Air duct leak testing is done by professionals that use calibrated mechanical equipment and measure the airflow that isn’t coming out of the air vents when the HVAC system is blowing. Air duct leak testing helps them determine if there are disconnected, leaking, or sagging air ducts. They will either make repairs or replace any damaged or disconnected ducts. 

Why is air duct leak testing important?

The HVAC system in your home is designed to maintain the temperature indoors, keeping your home comfortable, with cooling or heating, based on the thermostat setting.  An HVAC system also filters the indoor air of your home. It keeps pollutants minimized that can contaminate your home’s air. 

However, if the HVAC system isn’t working correctly, i.e., air duct leaks, it can’t keep your home at a consistently comfortable temperature or keep the pollutants minimized. Additionally, if there are any air duct leaks, you’re wasting money on cooling and heating the attic instead of the living space of your home. 

This is why air duct leak testing is so important! If you’re going to spend money on cooling and heating, you want to keep your home comfortable, and you want it to keep the air as clean and healthy as possible. 

What are the benefits of air duct leak testing? 

The benefit of air duct leak testing is that it finds where your air ducts aren’t doing the job they are designed to do.  The benefit comes from the repairs and replacements that are done once the duct leak testing has identified problem areas. 

What are the signs of a leaky air duct?

As the air ducts in the attic or walls age, or they come loose from the stable surfaced they were installed on, or you may have critters in the attic that have chewed, clawed, or torn the air ducts. A duct leak testing can find these problem areas, but you can tell you need a duct leak test performed if you’ve noticed any of the following: 

  • Increased Utility Bills.
  • Cold Spots on the Walls.
  • Humming Sounds.
  • Warm Air from the Vents.
  • Decreased Air Flow.

How often should air duct leak testing be done? 

Experts recommend a routine of having air duct leak testing every other year unless you’re noticing problems like the ones we listed above. If you do notice these things, getting duct leak testing could find the problem, and repairing it will fix it. If not, then you’ll need to move on to having your HVAC system inspected. 

A Damaged Air Duct

Keeping It Chilled, Or Heated

With duct leak testing in Fort Worth, TX, you’ll find out quickly if the cooled or heated air you’re paying for is going where it is needed: in the living space of your home. Will the duct leak testing process cost? Yes, nothing is free these days, but you need to look at it as an investment, not an expense! Find out how we can help with duct leaks by calling 817-781-8781.

How Do You Know if Your Air Ducts Are Leaking?

Air Duct Air Condition pipe line system Air flow HVAC system

About Air Duct Leaks

If your HVAC heating hasn’t been up to par this winter, it could be an indication the air conditioning won’t be either this summer. And you know how hot the summers get here in Texas!  If your HVAC system has been inspected and you’ve kept the air filter changed every 30 days, then you could have an air duct leak. Testing for this can be done by a professional and is well worth the cost and time! 

How do I know if I have bad ductwork?

After some time, air ducts become compromised and can start to leak. As a homeowner, you may not realize this or even know how to find air duct leaks, but not to fear, there are professionals that do know how with duct leak testing procedures. However, there are three key indicators that you should be aware of that are telling you it is time to have professional air duct leak testing done: 

  • Room Temperatures Inconsistent

When the temperature from room to room is inconsistent, often the problem is restricted airflow and not providing the proper air pressure through the air duct. Leak testing can find the problem areas, or if there are insufficient air ducts. 

  • Low Air Quality

A clear indicator that there is a problem with the air duct system in your home is noticeable lower air quality and an increase in dust. When the connections are broken or weak in the air duct system, they suck in dust from the attic and that dust blows all over your home. A professional duct leak testing will tell if there are broken or weak duct connections that need to be fixed. 

  • Leaking Air Ducts 

If you can hear air leaking through an air duct, leak testing isn’t necessary other than to determine if there is more than the one leak you’re hearing. Leaking air ducts is making your HVAC system work harder, which is using more electricity and costing you money each month. 

How much duct leakage is normal?

Reports from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) show that as much as 30% of the cooled air is lost through air duct leaks. Testing professionals can find these leaks and get that number down to an acceptable 4% or less by showing where air duct repairs, replacements, and sealing are needed. 

Grille of air conditioner system under ceiling.

Is duct sealing worth it?

Absolutely!   Not only will air duct leak testing find where your air ducts aren’t performing as they should, by getting them repaired and sealed will lower your cooling and heating costs by up to 20% or more!  An added benefit is less dirt and dust in your home, which is always a plus! And, with an air duct sealant job, you’ll be eliminating the growth of mildew, and mold in the air ducts will give your home better indoor air quality too. 

What causes duct leakage?

So, while we have discussed how air duct leak testing can help account for air loss in your system, what causes those air duct leaks?

  • Age and gravity: Just like the human body, age and gravity are the enemies to air ducts too. With the constant pull of gravity as the ductwork ages, it loosens the seals, and they break. There are several interconnected sections of air ducts that should be sealed with mastic or with metal tape. This will prevent air loss and keep the duct segments connected. 
  • Detached or loosened: Similarly, the air duct segments should-haves a tight fit at each connection, with special attention to elbows and joints. With age, or if any damage occurs that causes the segments to come apart or loose, most of the cooled or heated air is lost in the attic.
  • Ducts installed in unprotected areas: When air ducts are in an unprotected area like the crawl space, it is easier to be damaged. Ideally, air ductwork should be insulated itself and installed so that is diverted away from unprotected areas when possible.
  • Lack of fastening: If air duct segments aren’t fastened at every connection, or the fasteners become damaged, they can develop leaks and break apart.
  • Critters and rodents: Air ductwork is a haven for small critters and insects. Mice, rats, possums, squirrels, and insects like to nest in the air ducts, and when there is a small break or opening, it makes it easier for them to set up home. This extra weight will break the connections, these unwanted visitors will chew holes through the ductwork, and more. 
  • Zone pressurization: The rooms in your home develop pressure differences, causing air to leak out of the ductwork. Duct leak testing will also find where there is inadequate supply and return ducts that need professional attention. 

Can an air duct leak water?

Yes, this is condensation that builds up during the summer months when the air conditioning is working at its optimum performance. This may not seem like a big issue but left unaddressed, you can expect the following possible detrimental problems.

  • Dripping Insulation: The condensation dripping will affect and damage the attic and ductwork insulation, reducing the R-value, and making it less efficient. 
  • Water Leakage: With air conditioning duct condensation, the moisture will lead to leaks in the ceilings and walls, weakening the structure of your home. 
  • Mildew and Mold: Moisture building up around the air ducts leads to mildew and mold, creating a health hazard in your home. Anyone in your home that has a high sensitivity to mildew and mold will be affected, and anyone with asthma, rhinitis or other breathing issues will be affected. 
  • Fire Hazard: Yes, water is used to put out fires, but it can also cause a fire when it is dripping on electrical wiring. 

How long does ductwork last?

The air ductwork in most homes can last up to 15 years maximum. Professional air duct leak testing is recommended every 3 to 5 years and annually after 10 years. A professional air duct leak testing company will usually have knowledge of how to fix air duct leaks with the proper materials. 

Keeping It Where It Counts: Are leaking ducts in your home costing you money?

Yes, a leaking air duct system is costing you money in energy bills and very possibly costing you doctor visits and medications. Will air duct leak testing and repairs cost you too? Absolutely, but that expense will be re-cooped with lower energy bills!  

ACT Home Energy Specialists provides complete air duct leak testing in Fort Worth, TX. Call 817-781-8781 to get scheduled.

What are the benefits of energy efficiency?

home with a roof covered in solar energy panels

Making Your Home Energy-Efficient

The summers get mighty hot here in North Texas, and by the end of June, sometimes sooner, the air conditioner is needed almost 24/7. The winters in these parts can get mighty cold too, meaning the heat sometimes runs a lot. Either way, the utility bills skyrocket, so we all need energy-efficient homes!

But the utility bills aren’t the only reason why energy efficiency and conservation is important. There are many other reasons why we should all want energy-efficient homes and lifestyles to consider as well.

Why Make Your Home Energy-Efficient?

Here are seven reasons, in addition to saving on utility bills, that energy efficiency and energy-efficient homes are important:

The Environment

Energy efficiency reduces our carbon footprint. In 2016, as much as 19% of our carbon footprints came from our homes with greenhouse gas emissions. By implementing energy efficiency in our homes, the contributions to that can be significantly reduced. We can reduce this by up to 30% by simply investing in appliances and other home improvements. 

Why choose energy-efficient appliances? Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances will not only save on our monthly utility bills, but they enhance our lifestyles and protect the environment by lowering the amount of carbon dioxide we produce. 

Utility Bills

As we’ve already mentioned, our utility bills can skyrocket at certain times of the year. By working toward having energy-efficient homes with energy-efficiency upgrades, we can lower our utilities by up to 30% each month. 

Protecting Your Investment

Energy-efficient upgrades are often considered an expense, when in fact, we should view them as investments. The amount we can save on our utilities is the ROI of the initial cost to purchase the energy-efficient upgrades. 

Raising Your Property Value

Energy-efficient homes are an attractive draw in the real estate world. A home buyer is more likely to pay the asking price or more, for a home with all the energy-efficient upgrades already in place. Like the appliance, insulation, windows, and exterior siding. These are expenses that a homebuyer doesn’t want to face any time soon after closing. 

Your Quality of Life

With energy-efficient homes, the comfort of living will improve your quality of life with health benefits, which is a money saver too. energy-efficient homes are cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter, drier and well-ventilated. These are the things that lower the risk of mildew and mold growth and minimize illnesses. When the financial benefits of energy-efficient homes are analyzed, the benefit-cost ratio is four.

Cutting Other Costs

It doesn’t require big money to be spent to create energy-efficient homes. Yes, the new appliances, upgraded insulation, and windows are a huge help in cutting down carbon footprint and energy bills, but there are smaller investments you can make that will help too, such as:

  • Installing a programmable thermostat
  • Purchase advanced power strips
  • Purchase energy-efficient lighting 

Returns On Your Investment

Even the smallest energy efficiency measures will generate utility savings over time. You won’t see as much ROI on upgrading to a programmable thermostat as you will with upgrading the windows, but the proportions of any energy-efficient home improvements are dollar-for-dollar and lessen the carbon footprint. 

How much can energy-efficient windows save?

A big push to create more energy-efficient homes is to install energy-efficient windows. Is that just a sales tactic or is really going to save money over time? The DOE (Department of Energy) has stated that energy-efficient windows do offer significant savings, by as much as $500 a year, depending on where you live with upgrading your single-pane windows. 

How can buildings improve energy efficiency?

Okay, we’ve discussed ways to increase energy efficiency in our homes, but what about our businesses or places of employment? Here are some ways commercial structures can become more energy-efficient, starting with measuring the energy the building is consuming, and where that energy is being lost or utilized. Other ways to upgrade to a more energy-efficient structure can include: 

  • Insulation: The exterior envelope of a commercial building needs to be designed to lower cooling and heating needs. Start by making the building airtight and with a new building that can be done by having high-performance insulation installed with non-traditional wall systems. Replacing the older doors and windows to remove air leaks.
  • Ventilation: With the right ventilation system, a commercial building can be airtight, the indoor air quality improved, and moisture buildup minimized. A heat recovery ventilator system will use the outgoing air to heat incoming air and during the summer, the air inside the building can cool the air that comes inside. coming from outside.
  • Certified equipment: Purchasing equipment that is certified as energy-efficient, and high-performance, like Energy Star certification. A computer that is Energy Star certified uses as much as 60% less energy than older computers. 
  • LED lights: By upgrading to LED lights, energy consumption is reduced by up to 75%. Adding sensors that turn lights off and on by motion will cut back the energy costs even more. 
  • Upgrade to LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is being pushed globally to make the world more energy-efficient, improve air quality, and more. If your commercial structure isn’t following LEED guidelines now, consider retrofitting it soon. 

What is considered energy-efficient?

Energy efficiency is the practice of using less energy to accomplish the same goal by minimizing the energy cost and pollution. In our homes and businesses, society, in general, has the habit of using more energy than we really need to accomplish our tasks. We have the habit of being inefficient and wasting energy and the natural resources needed for that energy. 

So, what is the difference between energy efficiency versus energy conservation? Where energy efficiency is the technical performance of conserving energy and natural resources, energy conservation is the act of reducing the amount of energy used. 

woman calculating her energy efficiency savings

In Closing – How do you test your home’s energy efficiency?

Hiring a professional home energy assessment company is the best way to check the level of energy-efficient homes. 

The professional energy assessments provide details in the assessment of the energy use in your home. This typically includes the following while using equipment that detects any source of energy loss: 

  • Room-by-room examination
  • Review of past utility bills
  • A blower door test 
  • A thermographic scan

In some areas, utility companies offer this service for free as do solar panel companies.