Author Archives: ACT Home Energy Specialists

What is a Blower Door and Is It Necessary?

blower door testing system

What is a blower door? 

As a homeowner, you want every aspect of your homes essential components to be at their full capacity, especially the HVAC system. You’ve upgraded the system and upgraded the insulation, new windows, and doors. How can you be sure you’re getting the most out of all that work and money?  A blower door test will tell you everything you want to know and things you should know about the air tightness of your home. 

A blower door is a powerful fan that is affixed into a door frame to the exterior and pulls air out of your home. This lowers the inside air pressure and increased outside air pressure flows through any cracks or openings. An energy audit may include using a smoke pencil to air leak detection with a blower door test. These are places where air conditioned or heated air is escaping and that is a loss of your money!  

What is a blower door used for?

A blower door test is used in energy audits and has become a common part of testing a home’s code compliance looking for air leaks in new construction. The thought behind this type of testing is to determine the quality of the construction, hence, if there are a lot air leaks, it is made of poor construction. 

Using a blower door test for an energy audit is to help a homeowner know where their cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter is escaping. Once you know where the leaks are, you can make the additions and repairs needed to fix them. 

Why is a blower door needed?

You’ve probably heard older, retired carpenters say that a house needs to breathe. Today, a scientist would argue with that after doing years of research. When a home has an uncontrolled air leakage, there are downsides that are more dangerous than not being airtight, one being the moisture build up that air leaks allow. 

Moisture build up in a home can cause long-term health issues and aggravate existing health issues like allergies and asthma. With a blower door test, the leaks that allow moisture to gather inside walls, in the roof, and condense on cold surfaces are found and steps can be done to seal those places. The moisture build up is in addition to the amount of energy leaking from a home during cold winters and hot summers. 

What does a blower door test measure?

You’ve had a blower door test and not sure what to take from all the numbers? You were concerned about some issues about your home’s energy efficiency, or lack of, and head that this blower door test could tell you where there were problem areas.  Now that the energy auditor has come, performed the test, and left, after giving you a page of information with lots of numbers, what do they mean?  

These number can be confusing, but it is critical to understand what the blower door test found for your home. There are several guideline standards on the values and what they could mean about your home. This article will strictly focus on the ACH50 results that we obtained for your house. 

  • Results: ACH50 less than 5.0 = A Tight House
  • Results: ACH50 between 5.0 and 10.0 = A Moderate House
  • Results: ACH50 above 10.0 = A Leaky House

Still confused? The Blower Door Test is telling you how energy efficient and well-sealed your home is and where the problem air leaks are located, including bad weatherstripping.  So, don’t let the numbers lose you, they are nothing more than a reference point where you need to get started in tightening up your house. The blower door test results will tell you if there is air leaking around the doors, or windows, or the attic, maybe the crawl space is a culprit of energy loss. 

How long does a blower door test take?

The preparation and the breakdown for the blow door test takes longer than the test. The set up can take between 90 minutes and two hours, depending on the size of our house. The test itself can take between ten to twenty minute and the breakdown another hour. 

Is a blower door test worth it?

If you are upgrading your home, a blower door test will provide you information whether your house is energy efficient and how good or poor the indoor air quality. If your home has minimal number of air leaks, the energy auditor may recommend purchasing an ERV (energy recover ventilator) or heat recovery ventilator that will pull fresh air in and exchange stale cool or heated interior air without any loss of coolness or heating.

blower and tube

How do you install a blower door?

A blower door test unit is a versatile building tool that can provide diagnostics that can be helpful for a homeowner. There are professionals that are trained in setting up, performing, and reading the test, but a homeowner can do it themselves as well.  

The Preparation:

Turn off all combustionable appliances so the blower door unit doesn’t cause a backdraft that will bring carbon monoxide inside the house. Any open flames or hot embers outside should be put out so they aren’t sucked into the house as well. 

Now, walk around your house, making sure all the exterior doors and all the windows are closed. Make sure the interior doors are all opened and open the access to the basement. Any bath fans, exhaust fans, and the range hood should be turned off. 

The Basic Airtight Test:

Following the instructions, assemble the aluminum frame so that it fits the opening and connect the fabric panels to the aluminum extrusions, then attach the Velcro tabs to the panel. Place the door panel snug into the door with locking knobs. Run the green tube out through the hole in the fabric panel place the fan in the elastic hole. 

With the end facing away from the airstream and wind of the fan, using the flow rings facing into the home and with the speed controller hanging on the frame, plug it into the fan and the plug the cord into an outlet. 

 and plug the speed controller into the fan. Connect the power cord to an outlet. The baseline is established for the manometer using the kit’s instructions.

We’ve discussed the blower door advantages, but like anything else, are there any disadvantages to a blower door? A blower door test won’t provide accurate results on an older home that hasn’t been updated. An older home typically has a subflooring with 1×6 boards over a basement or crawlspace.  For the blower door test to provide an accurate reading, the floor should be sprayed with foam for a flash coating or as insulation. Call 817-781-8781 today!

Do Radiant Barriers Really Work?

A Radiant Barrier.

Do radiant barriers really work?

When you install a radiant barrier, you want to reduce heat gain, especially in the summer. This, in turn, reduces cooling costs. Does this really happen when radiant barriers are installed? The answer is both “yes” and “no,” depending on the type of heat you’re looking to reduce. Radiant barriers reduce the radiant heat that affects your roof and attic. This type of heat from direct sunlight is the primary type of heat that causes your roof to get hot, so the barrier will work on this type of heat. The barrier slows the radiant heat transfer from the roof’s underside to attic surfaces like air ducts. It doesn’t slow down heat conduction, which happens as the heat flows from the hot roof to the cooler attic. Insulation protects from heat conduction. 

For the best effect, you need a good combination of reflective barriers and insulation. Reflective barriers are especially valuable in areas like Texas where summer heat can linger in the triple digits for weeks on end. If you are looking to slow the effects of summer heat on your home and want professional radiant barrier services in Fort Worth, TX, you can always count on the team at ACT Home Energy Specialists for all your insulation solutions. Learn more about the services we can offer you by calling 817-781-8781.

How radiant barrier works

Radiant barriers work on basic principles of heat transfer and reflectivity. The process is fairly simple.

  • The sun’s radiant energy follows a straight line to the roof and heats it.
  • The heat that isn’t conducted to insulation and other materials in the attic is radiated to surfaces like air ducts or the attic floor.
  • The barrier slows down the heat transfer from this radiant energy.

Is radiant barrier better than insulation?

If you are wondering when to install radiant barrier material, it’s all going to depend on where you live. If you live in a hot climate a radiant barrier can reduce your cooling costs by as much as 10%, especially if you’re running the air conditioner almost year-round. So, if you live in Texas, radiant barriers are especially valuable for stopping summer’s heat which can run into the early fall. On the other hand, in colder climates like those in the Northeast or Midwest, these barriers aren’t really useful. Instead, install additional thermal insulation. Having both insulation and a barrier is a good idea because the insulation will protect from heat conduction.

Does radiant barrier need air space?

For a radiant barrier to work effectively, it needs an air space to create radiant rather than conductive heat. The barrier only reflects radiant heat. The space needs to be at least somewhere between ½-inch to ¾-inch for it to be effective. Larger gaps will also work.   

Which way should radiant barrier face

The most effective facing for a radiant barrier is foil-side down. That means it faces the building’s interior. It’s also better to install it under the roof’s sheathing.

Does radiant barrier affect WIFI?

You may have heard that if you install a radiant barrier it will affect WiFi and cell phone reception. In most cases, this is not true, as long as you have a strong signal. If your signal is weak to begin with, the barrier might very well affect it. It could then push the signal so hard, it breaks up the reception.

Can radiant barrier cause mold?

While radiant barriers are very beneficial when it comes to slowing down heat transfer and keeping your home cooler in the summer, they have to be properly installed to be effective. First, they need to have at least a ½-inch gap between the barrier and the attic floor for the barrier to even work effectively. If the barrier doesn’t have a gap and is installed directly on the floor, not only will it not be effective, it can trap moisture underneath it. Anywhere moisture gets trapped, mold will be sure to follow. This becomes especially problematic in the winter. So, the key to preventing mold growth when a radiant barrier is installed is to install it properly.

Is radiant barrier bad for shingles?

When you install a radiant barrier, you do not need to worry about harming your shingles. In fact, it might actually help the shingles last longer. That’s because the barrier can actually decrease the roof’s temperature by as much as five degrees. Any reduction in heat will reduce the wear and tear on the roof caused by the heat from direct sunlight the roof receives daily. Installing barriers also won’t void any manufacturer’s warranties on the roofing shingles.

Radiant Barrier Insulation.

Call Us Today

Do you want to keep your home cooler in the summer and reduce energy bills? When you install a radiant barrier in Fort Worth, TX, you’ll be doing just that. Let the experts at ACT Home Energy Specialists help you make your home cooler and more energy efficient. We provide a wide range of solutions to do just that. Give us a call at 817-781-8781 to find out more about how we can help you.

How do you do HVAC ductwork?

HVAC duct system

Ductwork cleaning

It is summer and here in Texas, have no doubt, we have our air conditioners running 24/7 by now. While that air conditioner is cooling the house, and what blessing that is after a full day of working in the yard, are you really getting all you can from that unit? Have you cleaned the air vents, or had a professional air duct inspection and air duct cleaning? 

Air duct and vent cleaning is crucial to having your air conditioner giving you the most comfort possible. A dirty or collapsed air duct can reduce the efficiency of an air conditioner, and a dirty air duct system is more than inefficient. It is unhealthy too! Before we answer some common questions, let’s start with one that isn’t asked, but should be answered, “How do air ducts work?”.

When we think about our air conditioning system, it is the big thing outside of our home and that part in a hall closet where we change the filter (oh yeah, have you done that recently?). What we don’t think about is that silver tubing stuff that we see in the vents (remember to clean those too!). That is the air duct system and without it, the cool air wouldn’t get anywhere in our homes. 

The air duct system distributes the airflow that comes from the HVAC equipment. It keeps that cold air encompassed so that it sucks the air in from inside your house through the air filter and ran through the HVAC system to cool it. Then it is blown out through the air duct system and throughout your home. 

How do you know if you have leaky ductwork?

The HVAC system in your home comprised of several parts. The indoor unit, the outdoor unit, air vents, and a system of air duct work. If your air conditioning is working and it should, the problem could be within any of these parts. 

 If it sounds like it is blowing, but you’re not feeling a strong air coming from the vents, the first place to check should be the air duct system. Here are some signs that could be indicating you have an air duct leak: 

High Utility Bills

Air duct leaks could cause a sudden jump in your electric bill because it is blowing that cold air into the attic and not the main part of your house. So, the house isn’t as cool as it should be, you lower the thermostat, the air conditioner works harder using more electricity.   

Excessive Dust

We don’t typically dust our attic, which is where the air duct system runs. When there is a leak in the air duct system, it is sucking in that dust and blowing it all through the house. Not only is this making your furniture dusty, but it can aggravate allergies and breathing issues too. 

Cooling and Heating Uneven

If one room is cooler than the other rooms on the same floor, the air duct system is not getting a constant flow, meaning, there is a leak somewhere within the air duct system. 

How do I test my HVAC air flow?

You can call a professional service to come check the airflow of your HVAC system. With annual inspections by a professional, this is part of the service. However, if you believe you may have an issue in between those appointments, you can do your own air flow check.  

The following set up to test the flow from your air duct system may seem to be a bit “red neck”, but it works, and professionals have been using it for 30 years or more. So, don’t laugh until you try it. It will only take ten minutes and you won’t have to buy any high dollar equipment. Gather the following items, which you probably already have around the house:

1 small garbage bag

1 wire hanger

Masking tape

A watch with a second hand

  • Wrap the wire hanger around the garbage bag opening, shaped in a circle or rectangle, then tape it so it is secure, and the garbage bag doesn’t collapse.
  • Put the garbage bag on the floor and crush the air out of it, starting at the bottom of the bag and moving up. If the garbage bag has any holes or tears, remove it and get another one.
  • Put the open end of the deflated garbage bag over a supply register, aka air vents.
  • With the HVAC system running, time how many seconds it takes to fully inflate the garbage bag.

The Test Results

Air flow is measured in CFM, cubic feet per minute. If your garbage bag filled in two seconds or less, then your air duct system is healthy. If it took more than 15 seconds to inflate the garbage bag, you may have an air duct leak. At this point, you need to call your air conditioning service company.

How do I check ductwork?

The following steps can often help you find air duct leaks.

1. Look for Obvious Hole and Tears

This should be the first step and when you find any holes or tears, mark the spot with a grease pencil to make it easy to locate for repairs after you’re through check the entire air duct system.

2. Turn the HVAC System on Full Speed

Best way to check air duct work is to have the HVAC system blowing air at full speed.  

3. The Air Duct Joints

The air duct system is connected from one run to the next and at those joints, it is common to find leaks. At each joint, run your hand over it and if there is air coming through the joints, you have a leak.

4. Duct Tape Evidence

If your home was pre-owned, it is possible that the previous owner did a patch-up job using duct tape. While this is a good fix, it is only meant to be temporary. Remove the duct tape and make the correct type of patch.

Now, seal up the leaks you found and recheck using the garbage bag method. There may be leaks or broken air duct sections that you must call a professional service to repair or replace. 

HVAC system in ceiling

Can I clean air ducts myself?

The air ducts to your HVAC system are the lungs for your home, and the cleaner they are, the better they work.  The air filter you replace or clean each month prevents airborne particles from getting inside the HVAC system and are your first line and inexpensive defense.

The air duct system in any home can get infested with insects, rodents, and other vermin, dander, and droppings, in addition to the dirt and dust that gets settled in them.  Left unaddressed, you’re not only slowing the air flow to cool your home, it is creating an unhealthy environment for you and your family.

If there is mold growing inside the air ductwork, there will be additional steps needed to be cleaning them that you may not see or reach. This is where a professional HVAC service technician is needed.  They have the equipment to reach up inside air ducts without damaging them.

If you’re set on doing your own air duct cleaning, your vacuum cleaner will be your best equipment to use. Clean the floor grilles and air duct registers with the brush attachment and if there is evidence of a lot of dust, take the grills out and use the extended hose to vacuum as much inside the air duct as you can.

Sometimes an HVAC technician will recommend having booster fan installed in your air duct system.  An air duct with fan activate as needed to assist the airflow in a home with a large network of air ducts. They are efficient and quiet and is less expensive than replacing the entire air duct system.

If your home has air duct without insulation, it is worth the expense of having ductwork insulation installed or do it yourself. As much as 30% of the energy to cool your home is wasted here. Professionally installed ductwork insulation will minimize your energy wastage, prevent condensation buildup, leaks, and temperature drops. Call 817-781-8781 today for your ductwork cleaning.

Why Is Energy Efficiency Important in Homes?

Thermal Image of Heat Loss Through Window.

Why is energy efficiency important in homes?

Whether you are in the market for a new home or just want to improve your home’s energy use, having an energy efficient home counts as a good thing for many reasons. Most people, however, want to improve energy efficiency in their home because it saves money. As utility expenses go up, finding ways to save money on energy bills is a good thing, and making your home more energy efficient will do that. Here are some other pros as well as cons of making your home more energy efficient.

Energy efficient home pros and cons


  • Cuts costs on energy bills.
  • Improves the environment, especially cutting back on CO2 emissions.


  • Initial expenses like buying energy efficient appliances can be expensive.
  • Lifestyle changes can be hard to adjust to.

If you would like to make your home more energy-efficient or want to find out how energy efficient it is, you can learn more with home performance testing in Fort Worth, TX from ACT Home Energy Specialists. We offer a full range of home energy improvement solutions. Find out how we can help by calling 817-781-8781.

What is energy efficiency?

At ACT Home Energy Specialists, we talk a lot about energy efficiency, but what, exactly does energy efficiency mean? In broadest terms, it means you find ways of using less energy while still producing the same effect. For example, an energy efficient home will have its windows sealed with weather stripping to prevent air leaks. Or you may add insulation in your attic to better improve heat transfer in your home. Both of these efforts will put less strain on your HVAC system, and allow it to heat and cool more efficiently. It will use less energy to run and that will save money on energy bills. It will also save you on maintenance and repair costs.

What are some examples of energy efficiency?

As mentioned above, one example of energy efficiency is putting weatherstripping around your windows to seal off air leaks. Another example of energy efficiency is using LED light bulbs instead of traditional incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs produce the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs but take less energy to do so.   

How can I make my home more energy efficient?

If you want a more energy efficient home, there are several steps you can take to make improvements. Many of these improvements can be made without putting a big dent in your wallet. Some of the things you can do include:

  • Resetting the thermostat 10-15 degrees while at work can save 5-15% on utility bills annually.
  • Creating a compost pile will reduce the amount of trash produced and give you a natural source of fertilizer.
  • Using less water by showering rather than taking baths.
  • Washing only full loads of laundry and using cold water when possible to wash.
  • Replacing incandescent bulbs with LED or compact fluorescent lamps which use less energy
  • Sealing windows with weatherstripping.
  • Adding attic insulation.

What is the most energy efficient home?

To determine how energy efficient a home is the U.S. Department of Energy has developed the Home Energy Score rating system. It rates home energy on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the least efficient and 10 being the most efficient. These ratings measure how well your home uses energy when it comes to heating and cooling, structure, and hot water systems. This is the rating system most professional home energy auditors use to rate a home’s efficiency.  

Are energy efficient home improvements tax deductible

While in general home improvements aren’t tax deductible, if you make improvements to make your home a more energy efficient home, they may be tax deductible. When you install energy efficient equipment on your property you may qualify for a tax credit. Check with a tax professional to see if you qualify for this tax credit.

What is energy efficient home credit

The energy efficient home credit is a $2,000 tax credit that developers can claim on newly constructed residential properties such as single family homes, apartments, and townhomes. A contractor can claim all homes that qualify. To qualify a residence:

  • Must be located in the U.S.
  • Construction must be substantially completed after August 8, 2005.
  • The building must meet certain energy saving requirements.
  • Must be sold or leased as a residence before 2021.

Energy saving requirements include certification that annual level of heating and cooling is at least 50% below average annual heating and cooling levels and building envelope component units account for at least one-fifth of the 50% energy consumption reduction.

Add Attic Insulation To Make Home Energy Efficient.

Energy efficient home products

If you want to make your home more energy efficient, there are plenty of products you can invest in to do so. Among some of the leading products:

  • Smart power strips that put connected items in standby mode when those items are not in use.
  • Smart charging stations for your phone that will cut power once the device is charged.
  • Smart thermostats which allow you to adjust the temperature in your home from anywhere and at any time.
  • LED lighting uses less energy to produce the same amount of light as incandescent lighting.
  • Smart appliances like refrigerators that use less energy at peak hours.
  • Energy efficient toilets that use less water when flushed.

To learn more ways to make your place an energy efficient home in Fort Worth, TX, consult with professionals at ACT Home Energy Specialists. We offer plenty of options to improve energy efficiency. Find out how we can help by calling 817-781-8781.

Is Attic Ventilation Necessary?

The temperature of the exhaust ventilation system.

Make Sure to Have Proper Attic Ventilation

Your attic and roof are complicated systems that require proper ventilation in order to avoid moisture issues. Instilling proper attic ventilation will allow for proper conditions to be met inside your attic without incurring the need for repairs or replacement of comprised materials. Depending on the type of roofing system you have, some types of attic ventilation may be more recommended than others. It’s best to have your roof inspected or taken care of by a qualified roofing company in order to see what type of attic ventilation will be right for your property. If you have any questions be sure to contact your local roofers, until then, here is some general information regarding attic ventilation that may prove useful.

Why have attic ventilation?

How attic ventilation works is by maintaining cold roof temperatures throughout the year and venting out moisture that moves from the conditioned space of the attic. Attic ventilation will act to bypass the vapor barrier that most roof membranes will create. In the winter, attic ventilation and proper insulation can control ice dams by allowing snow to melt evenly on the roof instead of building up in certain areas from uneven roof temperatures. In the summer temperatures won’t raise in such high amounts as it can be prone to in that season when condensation and heavy moisture are in the air. 

What happens if a roof is not vented?

Poor or non-existent roof ventilation will cause attic temperatures to rise 150 degrees or higher in the summer which can lead to the buildup of mildew, mold, and condensation on various roofing materials such as shingles and supportive wooden beams. In short, improper attic ventilation can cause roofing deterioration from excessive moisture. With this, the entire roofing system can be compromised from the supportive beams, decking, underlayment, and shingles.

​What is net free attic venting?

Net free attic ventilation products are typically rated with a Net Free Area (NFA.) The net free area is the open area on ventilation that exists in order for air to pass through. For every 150 square feet of attic floor space, 1 square foot of NFA is required to instill ventilation.

How much attic ventilation is needed?

According to the US Federal Housing Authority, at least a minimum of 1 square foot of attic ventilation that’s split evenly between the exhaust and intake is required for every 300 square feet of attic floor space.

How do you insulate and vent an attic?

Attic ventilation can involve placing rafter vents on the ceiling in between the rafters and the points where the attic ceiling meets the floor. After these are set in place you can incorporate the blankets or batts, or blow insulation to the edge of the attic floor.

Are gable vents intake or exhaust?

Gable vents will be installed in the gabled ends at the opposite sides of the attic. They work most effectively when the vents are aligned with any winds that will come through. When the wind blows perpendicular to the vents than they will act as both intake and exhaust.

What is the best type of attic ventilation?

The most effective attic ventilation will use a ridge and soffit continuous ventilation system and these designs will vary from roof to roof. What’s more, the best type of attic ventilation will vary from roof to roof. Static roofline vents are effective for ventilation but may not be recommended due to leak problems. Soffit vents, in turn, may leave air trapped at the top of your attic. Get in touch with a professional roofer who can gauge the best type of attic ventilation system for you based on your property’s specifications.

Air Ventilation Filtering and Circulation. Wooden House Attic Ventilation System Closeup. Air Quality Concept.

How do you tell if your attic is properly ventilated?

  • Ventilation should be on the roof or in the eaves.
  • For low-profile continuous roofs, a ridge should be present along the peak of the roof.
  • Gables should have louvered openings at the top of the gables.
  • Touch your ceiling in the summer, if it’s hot the attic is not venting well.
  • With condensation on rafters or roof sheathing, this means the air is too warm with venting issues.
  • In winter, thick ridges of ice on eaves or ice dams show poor attic ventilation.
  • Dampness or frost in your attic is a bad sign in the winter as well.

Contact Your Local Roofing Company For Assistance

If you’re in need of proper attic ventilation for your home get into contact with your local roofing company and schedule an appointment for a roof inspection. You’ll be able to have your roof checked for proper attic ventilation as well as any damages incurred to your roofing materials from improper ventilation. It’s essential to have proper attic ventilation as changing seasons mean changing temperatures and moisture levels which will greatly impact the roof both inside and out. Avoid the cost of repairs and replacements by making sure that your attic is well insulated and ventilated from the get-go. You’ll even be saving on monthly energy bills as stable building temperatures mean less energy is being wasted and therefore less money is being spent. Proper attic ventilation will save you on time, worries, and money so reach out to your local roofers today.

If you’d like assistance with effective attic ventilation in Fort Worth, TX call 817-781-8781 with ACT Home Energy Specialists!

How Do I Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic?

A Squirrel on a Roof

How do I get rid of squirrels in the attic?

A common problem for homeowners is finding rodents like squirrels nesting in their attic. They are a nuisance, making their nests and leaving droppings all over the place, requiring attic cleanup and decontamination. Not only are they nuisance, they can damage your attic, chewing through wood, insulation and electrical wiring. They create health and fire hazards, and getting rid of them and keeping them away is essential. 

Other pests like mice and rats, as well as raccoons and bats are also commonly found nesting in attics. They also need to be gotten rid of permanently. You may want to call out a pest or animal control specialist, but there are several steps you can take to keep your attic free and clear of rodents and other animals.

Attic cleanup and rodent proofing

  • Removing food sources like bird seed or nuts or even pet food.
  • Upgrade cardboard storage boxes to heavy-duty storage bins
  • Keeping trees and shrubs trimmed.
  • Covering your gutters and downspouts with gutter guards and covers.
  • Removing firewood that’s stacked against the building.
  • Repairing damaged soffit and fascia boards.
  • Sealing off other potential entrances. 

Once you get the squirrels or other rodents cleared from your attic, you’ll need to clean up their mess. When you need experts at attic decontamination in Fort Worth, TX, count on the team at ACT Home Energy Specialists. Give us a call at 817-781-8781.  

How do I disinfect my attic?

Whether you’ve had pests, water damage or other problems in your attic, once the problems are stemmed, it’s then time for attic cleanup and decontamination. While professionals like those at ACT Home Energy Specialists can get rid of droppings and remove mold, you can take some steps to clean the attic as well. Start by removing boxes, furniture and other items, or stack them in a corner until you finish dusting the area. You will also want to wash and dust any fabrics.

Begin your cleanup by dusting, using an electrostatically charged duster. Clean thoroughly over the walls, wooden beams, columns and baseboards, as well as windows and frames. Make sure to dust fans and fixtures. If the dust is thick, you might want to consider using  a vacuum. Follow up your dusting by sweeping the area.

Follow up the dusting and sweeping with an inspection of the insulation. Adequate insulation will be at the same level as the floor joists. If it’s below the joists, you should add insulation. Along inspecting the insulation, look for signs of mold. Mold will appear as dark spots on the wood, and you may notice a musty smell. Anytime you find mold, it may be best to call in a specialist to get rid of it. For all your cleaning efforts wear a mask that filters airborne particles and gloves. 

Attic mold cleanup

If you see dark spots in your attic, you probably have mold. While it’s a serious problem requiring attic cleanup and decontamination, you shouldn’t fret, because mold can be removed. Mold removal specialists are your best bet when it comes to removing the mold itself. But, to prevent the mold from returning, you can take some steps to prevent it from returning. 

Mold grows where there’s moisture, and moisture can get in through several ways. Check for roof leaks, and if there are any, get them repaired by a reputable roofer. You may also have wet insulation, which needs to be removed and replaced. Wet insulation not only creates the potential for mold, it will lose its effectiveness to improve ventilation and heat absorption. Also check your soffit vents and other vents to see if airflow is adequate. Your attic should be relatively cool. If it’s hot and stuffy the ventilation is poor, and poor ventilation can lead to mold growth.

How do I get rid of thick dust in my attic?

Anytime you go into the attic, you’ll probably see dust. If you haven’t dusted in a long time, the dust will be really thick. As part of your attic cleanup and decontamination, you want to dust regularly. For really thick dust, it’s probably best to use a vacuum to clean it. You can also use an electrostatically charged duster. Make sure you have bags to collect the dust and take it outside. You also want to wear a dust mask and gloves while cleaning. Attic decontamination services like ACT Home Energy Specialists can also be called to ensure your attic is cleaned thoroughly.

How much does attic decontamination cost?

Attic cleaning and decontamination costs will vary. On average, however, you can expect to spend anywhere between $110 and $160. Additional services like rodent removal and rodent proofing will incur additional costs. Rodent removal can cost anywhere between $95 and $235, while rodent proofing will cost anywhere between $125 to $200. Decontaminating your attic after having rodents or pests removed will cost on average about $1.50 per square foot. A full decontamination will cost anywhere between $1,000 to $5,000.

When you have to clean your attic because of pests, to manage the cost, you may wonder, “Does homeowners insurance cover attic restoration?” The answer is, “Sometimes.” If you have problems with bats, racoons and or some birds, homeowners insurance may cover the decontamination service. But common pests like squirrels mice or rats may not be covered, unless they have gotten into the attic because of damage caused by a storm or other covered peril. Even with animals that are covered, the payout may be minimal. Check with your insurance company to find out exactly what’s covered in your policy.

An Attic With Dirty Insulation.

Attic cleanup and decontamination near me

Whether you have pests or just want to keep on a regular maintenance schedule, when you need attic cleanup or decontamination in Fort Worth, TX, the professionals at ACT Home Energy Specialists are the team to rely on. We offer a full range of attic services and energy saving solutions. Find out how we can help by calling 817-781-8781.

Should I remove old insulation from my attic?

insulation cut and ready to be installed

Keep your home temperature regulated

If your home doesn’t have attic insulation on roof underside or on the floor of the attic, you are probably losing a lot of air conditioning and heating, which is costing you in energy bills. Every homeowner is always interested in saving money where they can, with energy expenses being the top money saver and an attic no insulation is the one thing many of them overlook.

Too many homeowners have questions, such as the validity of if attic insulation does it help and how much attic insulation is required to be an energy saver. As you continue reading this article, we’ll be answering frequently asked questions with helpful information, advice, and tips. By the end of this article, you’ll see how important attic insulation is and you’ll want to make sure your attic is sufficiently insulated. 

How thick should attic insulation be?

Having the right amount of insulation in the attic of your home is the number one way to reduce your energy cost. Attic insulation is rated in a measurement called R-Value which tells you how well it will work with a range of 2.0/inches to 8.0/inch. Cellulose and fiberglass R-Value ratings are 2.9/inch to 3.8/inch, while sprayed foam insulation can measure up to 8.0/inch. A higher R-value will do a better job of preventing heat to transfer. In simple terms, the average amount of attic insulation is about six inches. Don’t forget to insulate the attic door either!

How do I know if my attic needs more insulation?

A quick and simple way to know that your attic needs more insulation is to look at the floor for the attic. If you can see more than the top of the floor joists, you need attic insulation. If your home was built before 1970, you probably need attic insulation, but here are some indications that will confirm the need for you:

  1. Attic Troubles: While you’re up in the attic checking the attic insulation, do you feel or smell moisture?  Do you see where water has come through the ceiling, notice wet spots on the ceiling or the floor of the attic?
  2. Energy Bills Blasting: You do all the things you can think of to make your home cool or heat more efficiently and cut the AC and heat down. Sadly, nothing is working, and your energy bills keep increasing. Cooling and heating in your home are how you keep everyone comfortable, so you keep lowering or raising the thermostat to make it comfortable. Or do you notice the AC/Heat system is constantly running? These are both indications that your home needs attic insulation.
  3. Winter Wonderland: During the winter, does your roof have giant icicles hanging off the roof? While this may look pretty, it isn’t. They can damage the gutters and roof each time the heat rises and heats the attic. If the attic insulation is adequate, the heat will escape through the vents. If the attic insulation is insufficient, the heat will rise to the roof and melt the ice and snow and create ice dams and icicles.
  4. Cold and Hot Rooms: If one room in your home is a sauna, and another is like you’re in an igloo, that is a big red flag that your attic insulation is uneven. A home should not have any drafts if it is properly insulated. 
  5. The Current Insulation: If you find crumbly insulation while in the attic, it is expired and is not doing your home any good. Do not try to remove the attic insulation yourself, it always best to have a professional insulation contractor remove the attic insulation. They will have the equipment and gear to remove the old insulation.
  6. Cracks: If there are small cracks around the doors and windows, applying some caulk over those cracks to seal them is a simple fix. Sometimes a few small cracks are leaking enough cool air or heat to contribute to high energy bills.
  7. Pests: Lastly, mice droppings or like indications of pest infiltration can compromise your home’s structural integrity as the pest eat away at the attic insulation and structure. 

How long does insulation last in the attic?

The typical lifespan of attic insulation according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors says that spray foam insulation, house wrap insulation, and wrap tape can last up to 80 years or longer. Cellulose, foamboard, loose-fill, and rock wool insulation can last 100 years.

However, when the basic homeowner maintenance is ignored, the lifespan can be shortened. Attic insulation is durable, and the attic insulation made today is humidity and weather resistant.  to weather and humidity. Still, all insulation can be weakened by several factors, such as water damage that is left unattended, as mildew and mold can still form and corrode the exterior and interior attic insulation.

Additionally, puncture to the surface of attic insulation can render it ineffective. When cellulose, fiberglass, or other batt attic insulation falls, it creates “blank spots” where mold growth can harbor, it gets dirty and becomes less effective.

Can you put new insulation over old?

Unless the old attic insulation is wet, new insulation can be installed over old insulation. Any wetness will get trapped between the old and new it will mildew, mold and rot the attic floor and rafters.

How often should attic insulation be changed?

Even though attic insulation is said to last anywhere from 80 years to 100 years, it does lose effectiveness as its ages.  Insulation experts recommend replacing after 15 years to assure it is doing the job you need it to. Any time you have a leak in the roof, check the insulation if it has been affected and replace it necessary. It is only to a homeowner’s benefit to install attic insulation and keep it in good condition for energy savings and comfort within their home.  When the attic insulation in good condition, it saves the HVAC system from having to work so hard, and that will save the homeowner money by not having to get repairs or replacement. For your attic insulation installation in Fort Worth, TX, dial 817-781-8781 for ACT Home Energy Specialists!

When Should I Replace My Ductwork?

A Technician Checks Ductwork.

When should I replace my ductwork?

If you’re having problems with air quality or your utility bills seem to be climbing for no reason, you may have a problem with your ductwork, and you may wonder, “Can HVAC ducts be replaced?” The simple answer is, “Yes.” The next question you may have is, “When should they be replaced?” When it comes to HVAC duct replacement, age and wear are the primary reasons to put in new ductwork. 

How long does HVAC ductwork last? You may wonder, “Should ductwork be replaced after 20 years?” While it’s common to say ductwork lasts 10 to 15 years, some types of ductwork may last longer. Metal ductwork, for instance, can last much longer than 15 or even 20 years, while flexible ductwork has a varied lifespan.

While ductwork can last a long time under ideal conditions, even metal ductwork is subject to wear as it ages. Metal ductwork expands and contracts with temperature changes, which over time can create gaps and leaks. The same is true for flexible ductwork. Over time it can develop leaks. These gaps and leaks will reduce airflow and energy efficiency. The older the ductwork, the more likely you’ll have problems with airflow, which will begin to affect your HVAC system overall, causing it to work harder to heat or cool your home. This may lead to costly repairs and you’ll probably see your energy bills slowly creep up.

So, as a rule of thumb, if your air ducts are over 15 years old, you may want to have a professional check them out. A professional will be able to tell the condition of your ducts and better recommend whether or not they need to be replaced.

For HVAC duct replacement in Fort Worth, TX, rely on the professionals at ACT Home Energy Specialists. Find out how we can help you by calling 817-781-8781.

How long does flex duct last?

While many homes have metal ductwork, others have flexible ductwork or flex duct, and because it is less expensive than metal ductwork, it may be a cheaper alternative when it comes to HVAC duct replacement. Flex duct’s lifespan can vary. Much of its longevity will depend on the installation, but poor installation will affect your ductwork’s dependability no matter what type it is. As with other types of ductwork, have your flex duct checked by a professional after about 10 to 15 years or if you’re experiencing problems like poor indoor air quality or decreased airflow. 

HVAC duct replacement diy

Although it’s not recommended that you try to replace your whole home’s ductwork, with the right tools and skills, you may find it more convenient to replace a section. Here are some basic steps for diy HVAC duct replacement.

Steps to replace HVAC ducts

  • Remove old ductwork: The old ductwork needs to be removed to make room for the new duct. The new ductwork is attached to the vent box or plenum.
  • Secure and seal the duct: Attach the duct to the bottom of floor joists using plastic ties placed every few feet. Plastic ties are also used to seal the duct to the new box. Once in place, everything is sealed with aluminum tape.
  • Create a wooden frame to hold the vent in place: This frame may be necessary to hold the vent in place.
  • Fill in gaps between the floor and frame using insulated duct board: The duct board is cut to size and fit snugly onto both sides of the frame. The vent is further sealed with mastic adhesive cement.

Before you have your ductwork replaced in your attic, if you have any problems with roof leaks or moisture build up, roof inspections are a good way to check for problems with your roof that could affect your attic and your ductwork.

Is cleaning air ducts worth it?

While there isn’t much evidence that cleaning air ducts can help improve indoor air quality, there are some instances in which you might want to have them cleaned. If you’ve recently remodeled your home, you may want to clean the ductwork, especially if the ducts weren’t sealed during the renovation or if lead paint removal or asbestos abatement was involved.

Other reasons to have your ducts cleaned if you have evidence of animal infestation in the ductwork, if mold is present, or if contaminants are being released through the ducts after the registers have been cleaned. If someone in your household is suffering from an allergy-related illness and all options have been exhausted, you may want to look into getting the ducts cleaned.   

How much does it cost to replace HVAC ductwork?

HVAC ductwork replacement costs will vary. On average it will cost about $285 per duct run. The cost is based on the number of runs replaced, along with the length of each run, as well as the type and size of the ductwork. Costs can increase to as much as $550 per run if ducts in walls and ceilings have to be replaced.

Ductwork in a New Construction.

HVAC duct replacement near me

If you are in need of residential HVAC duct replacement in Fort Worth, TX, turn to the professionals at ACT Home Energy Specialists. We offer a wide range of replacement options. Find out how we can help or schedule an appointment by calling 817-781-8781.

What Is the Best Type of Insulation for an Attic?

Spraying Blown Fiberglass Insulation.

Different Types of Attic Insulation

When it comes to our homes, we want them to be as comfortable as possible. Usually the best solution for this is to turn on your heating system or AC when the temperatures start to change. However, while this does help, heat and cold air can make it into your home, making it where you turn up your HVAC system a little higher in order to reduce the cold or hot air that is coming in. This can increase utility bills by a lot, but there is a way to save money and keep your home comfortable at the same time. One of the best ways to ensure that cool or warm air doesn’t enter your home is with attic insulation.

A lot of people who aren’t familiar with this type of insulation will ask, “How attic insulation works?” Because our attic acts as a thermal resistant barrier, it helps keep thermal energy from coming into your home or from coming out. Basically, hot and cold air will not be able to come in at all with the help of insulation. Another question that people tend to ask about insulation for attics is, “Why attic insulation is important?” When cool or warm air is allowed to leave or enter your home, that makes your HVAC system work harder than it should. Not only can this wear down on the system, but it also make utility bills a lot higher. With the help of insulation, you can extend the life of your HVAC system while also saving money on your utility bills.

In terms of insulation for attics, there are a few types to choose from, which are cellulose, spray foam, loose-fill fiberglass, and fiberglass batts. A lot of people like to ask which one is the best, but it will really depend on a lot of factors. Knowing which type of insulation to get for your attic can be stressful, but when you call a company who does insulation for attics, they will be able to tell you which insulation type would be the best for your attic.

Does Attic Insulation Really Help?

If you think about the location of the attic, you will realize that due to its location, it can get very hot. The attic is right below the roof, which is in constant contact with the sun and other outside elements, so that can really affect the temperature of your home. Something that people always ask about insulation for an attic is, “Will adding insulation attic make difference?” and the answer is yes. Attic insulation acts as a barrier that will keep cool and warm air from both leaving and entering your home. This is helpful as it can reduce the temperatures in your home (or keep them the same) and also help you save money in the long run. Knowing if this type of insulation is right for you helps if you know about the attic insulation benefits.

  • Lower Bills: When an attic isn’t insulated, then it can waste a lot of energy and in turn cost a lot of money. Insulation can reduce utility bills.
  • Greater Indoor Air Quality: Air leaks in the attic can cause mold, dirt, and dust to make there way through your home, which compromises our air. With insulation, you can have better indoor air quality.
  • Better Protection: Moisture and heat can do a number on your home’s structure, but by investing in attic insulation, you can protect your home’s structure.
  • More Comfortable: Without insulation the temperature inside of our homes can become uncomfortable, which is why insulation is so important.
  • Prevent HVAC Wear and Tear: Your HVAC system has to work harder when cool or warm air enters or leaves your home. By getting insulation you can extend the life of your HVAC system and reduce HVAC maintenance.

Can You Over Insulate an Attic?

A Technician Spraying Blown Fiberglass Insulation in an Attic.

Can You Put New Insulation Over Old?

While insulation for attics is a good thing, there is such a thing as over-insulating an attic. When we use too much insulation, moisture won’t be allowed to leave our homes, which in turns cause mold growth and other indoor air quality issues. There has to be a good balance between insulation and ventilation, which is why you should call the experts at ACT Home Energy Specialists. We will be able to put in the correct amount of attic insulation in your Fort Worth, TX home, and answer questions about which is better, attic insulation vs radiant barrier. Many people ask, can you put new insulation over old insulation and the answer is yes if the insulation isn’t wet, but we can also offer attic insulation removal before we add new insulation. If you think you need new insulation and you are wondering, “How long does attic Insulation last?” you can rest assured that with proper insulation, you won’t have to worry about it ever again. Call us at 817-781-8781 to get the best attic insulation service in the area.

Do Radiant Barriers Really Work?

Close Up of Radiant Barrier Fiber Reinforced Foil

Radiant Barrier Information

Radiant heat, otherwise known as heat radiation is the best kind of heat transfer in relation to the other two methods of convection and conduction. Conduction involves direct transfer of heat like a stove heating a pot while convection involves surrounding heat from liquid or air heating something like with something in an oven or a being heated in a hot bath.  With radiant or heat radiation you can refer to a microwave as the kitchen analogy. Essentially heat is generated from the movement of the charged particle within an atom that is converted to electromagnetic radiation. Other such examples can be from materials or objects such as heat from light fixtures, floors or the sun. With a radiant barrier in a home, radiant heat will transfer through the air without heating the air itself. It will instead transfer to surfaces which will then re-radiate the heat in the space making it feel warmer. Here is some more Infomation about a radiant barrier that may prove useful for you.   

Does Radiant Barrier need air space?

As mentioned before a radiant barrier will work with air and without air space you won’t have radiant heat or a radian barrier. That is to say, the radiant barrier material, say if aluminum is involved would turn into a conductive heat object once the air is removed from the equation. Essentially, without the required air space heat, will work against its nature and increase heat flow.

What is radiant barrier made of?

A radiant barrier is made of highly reflective materials such as aluminum foil. The material is then applied to one or both sides of a substrate that can be plastic film, kraft paper, oriented strand board, cardboard or air infiltration barrier materials. Some of these options may even go further and be fiber-reinforced to increase durability and ease handling. As of such, a radiant barrier could be applied with numerous different insulation materials as a facing material.

Is spray foam a radiant barrier?

With radiant barrier vs spray foam insulation of the spray foam variety doesn’t protect from radiant heat but it will have the effects of conduction and convection. They won’t be as effective in keeping cool in the summer however when radiant heat is more powerful.

Can Radiant Barrier cause mold?

A radiant barrier can risk causing mold and other damages if not properly installed. Grime and dust buildup can come in the way of a radiant barrier’s ability to reflect heat and allow it pass on. If a property has leaking problems or too much condensation from improper air seals or poor vents than moisture is being collected in the house. If it’s the attic you have a confined space that will trap moisture on drywall and the radiant barrier. In the winter months, this condensation can be worse and form mold. These issues can be resolved as long as your vents and seals are in place as they should be. Problems of the mold with a radiant barrier are not caused directly by the barrier but by home systems that are having issues instead and affecting moisture levels in the air.

Attic Insulation Project Between Joists

Radiant Barrier Benefits

  • Reduce HVAC Costs
  • Stabilize Internal Temperature
  • Various Substrate Options
  • Can Be Fit To Any Roof
  • Efficient Installations

Does radiant barrier really work?

Studies show that a radiant barrier can lower cooling costs by 5-10% in warm sunny climates. Reduced heat can allow for smaller air conditioner systems and more energy conservation efforts as well. In cool climates, however, it’s usually more cost-effective to install thermal insulation that a radiant barrier. 

When To Use Radiant Barrier Insulation

A radiant barrier is a great way to improve on the comfort of your building’s temperatures in any season as essentially it works as any proper insulation should in being adaptable in any climate or season. Particularly harsh seasons like summer or winter however it will prove especially useful. The heat will move from hot areas to cold areas thereby reducing energy costs in the summer and the sheathing will prevent heat transference away from the interior during winter months.

Is radiant barrier worth it in Texas?

Essentially a radiant barrier can be useful in any climate, it’s essentially insulation and insulation is great in stabilizing temperatures inside of a building. As radiant heat is perhaps the highest in summer it can be great for warmer climates.

Contact A Professional 

Add radiant barrier benefits to your property with a roll-on foil barrier or other such material to improve your home or business’s insulation. Remember, it’s important that a professional install your radiant barrier with precision and care or you may run into problems down the road. When you require assistance, be sure to contact a professional as they will be able to conduct a roof inspection to determine the specifications and characteristics of your property. Look into your local residential or commercial roof installation services for professional care. Benefit from a radiant barrier today!

If you’d like to learn more about a radiant barrier in Fort Worth, TX call 817-781-8781 with ACT Home Energy Specialists!