Does air sealing work?

air vent

How much does it cost to air seal your home?

Have you installed new windows, added insulation to the attic, and still seem to be losing your warmed air in the winter and cooled air in the summer? You may need to have home air duct sealing done. What is home air sealing?

Home air duct sealing is a methodical method to find air leaking points all throughout your home then sealing those points that are leaking. A home air sealing company will send a team will start in the attic and work down and through the house, checking the exterior walls, into the basement and crawlspace. 

You may think your home is airtight and you’re getting the most from your HVAC system at the least amount of money.  Request an energy audit from your local power provider and you may find out differently. 

One of the largest energy wastes is the air loss in homes, which creates higher energy bills too. Home air duct sealing  the leaks found in an energy audit will prevent any more loss while improving the energy efficiency and the HVAC system’s lifespan. 

There is a good chance there are air leaks in the walls, around the doors and windows that you may not be aware of, and they are not only letting out cooled or warmed air, but they are also creating moisture problems. 

Those moisture problems aren’t letting the HVAC system keep a comfortable temperature in the house, so the thermostat gets adjusted.  That moisture build up is also creating health issues for your family and will eventually start causing structural damage to your home. 

So, how much does a home air duct sealing  job cost? As with anything you have done to your home, there are several “depends” with Home air duct sealing too. Like how many, the location, and the severity of those air leaks on where they are located and how severe they are. 

You get a minimum basic for air sealing existing home of 2,500 square foot for as little a $300 up to about $600.  If you want a full home air duct sealing project, a  2,500 square foot home will run between $2100 and $5200.  

What is the difference in the two different home air duct sealing projects? The more expensive one will include caulking, metal flashing, and weatherstripping where needed. It also includes spray foam insulation. The basic will give you sealing around the primary doors and windows. 

dusty vent

Can you diy home air sealing?

Absolutely, but you’ll want to start with a professional home energy audit. Most utility companies are offering free energy audits these days, it is worth scheduling an appointment. Next, following along with what this audit finds so that you know how to air seal a house, take these steps and you’ll save up to 15% off your energy bills once you have completed your own home air duct sealing: 

  • The Exterior: Any area of your home were two different building materials meet, check for cracks and gaps. This could be where the chimney and siding meet or the foundation and siding, roof, and siding, and around areas where the electrical and plumbing enter the house. 
  • The Walls: Inside, install foam gaskets behind the exterior electrical outlets and light switches. Use those child-proof plug covers to keep unwanted air coming in around the electrical outlets. Insulate behind the cable and phone receptacles, too, small but the home air duct sealing will do wonders with cold air draft this winter. 

No check the baseboards, doors, and windows, for cracks or gaps that air can be getting in (or out). Any wall or window mounted air conditioning units the home air conditioning sealant should be checked too.  If your windows are over 20 years old, consider getting new windows. While that is a costly investment upfront, you’re losing as much as 40% of the air right now, that is money going out the door. 

  • The Basement & Crawlspace: Inspect the rim joists and sill plates and seal any cracks and gaps between them and your home’s foundation. Any holes in the foundation or rim joist where electrical work, HVAC, or hose bibs have been installed should be filled with caulk or spray foam.  Same goes for the dryer vent, gas water heater vent and other protruding vents. Check main floor and basement ceiling ductwork, electrical, and plumbing holes and caulk or spray foam them as part of your home air duct sealing project. 
  • The Attic: Here is where a lot of cooled and warmed air escape!  If you’re going to focus on one area, start in the attic. Have your attic inspected by a profession to evaluate the current insulation. If you don’t want to spend that money, then go forth by sealing up any holes in the attic floor and roof. There could be around light fixtures, stacks, and vents, around the chimney and recessed lighting. 

This may all seem like a lot of work, so you’re questioning Is air sealing worth it? A home air duct sealing job will provide you the following benefits:

  • Consistent temperatures – no more thermostat changes
  • Prevention of ice dams 
  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Up to 18% reduction in cooling and heating costs

Need help with your air duct sealing in Fort Worth, TX? Call 817-781-8781 today!

Should Old Insulation Be Removed?


Should old insulation be removed?

Today, the concerns of the environment are growing bigger every day in every aspect of our lives. From reusable drinking straws to electric cars and solar power for our homes. The environmental concerns have also brought our attention to the landfills and how quickly they are filling up. With many things we purchase and use today can be recycled, but what about used insulation removal?  

Insulation removal and replacement has gained some great concern over the past few years as more people are buying older homes and flipping them. If you have purchased an existing older home, the Insulation removal from attic is probably a concern, and for good reason. Some insulation materials are unsafe to breath, like fiberglass, there are cautions to take with insulation removal. 

Well, the answer it depends.  How old is the insulation and is the existing insulation damaged or currently wet? Remember, the purpose of insulation in the attic is provide energy-efficiency and to make your home more comfortable. It is damaged or wet, then yes, you need to remove it before you install new insulation. 

ENERGY STAR® suggestion that if you find damaged or wet insulation, find out why it is damaged or wet and resolve that before installing new insulation. If you just put new in without finding the source of the problem, then you’re just setting up the new insulation to be damaged or get wet too. Wet insulation will become problematic as it mildews and grows mold. This leads to rotting the rafters in your attic and then the ceiling.

Is removing insulation dangerous?

 Insulation removal from walls or ceilings may seem easy, but because insulation degrades as it ages, it is more involved than it seems. Some of the insulation is fastened to the drywall, rafters, and studs, making it  challenge to remove the stuff completely and safely.  Reasons you want to search for “a company that offers Insulation removal near me”, are many, including the possible damage you could cause to your home if you’re not careful.  Other reasons that hiring a company are:

  • The Mess: Before attempting to insulation removal is messy, and the older the home and insulation, the messier it gets. Fiberglass based insulation become corroded and decays, turning into a dusty substance that even a professional has challenges to remove the material sufficiently. 
  • The Mold: If your home has every had a plumbing or roof leak where the attic may have been affected, the insulation is probably molded. This may not seem like a big issue until you start removing it and the toxicity of the mold begins to float into the air. 
  • Expertise: A insulation removal company will have the experience with insulation removal, and with their level of experience and knowledge, they can advise you of possible structural issues that should be addressed before installing new insulation. 
  • Efficient and Fast: Insulation removal isn’t going to go as quick as you may think. An experienced company will have the property equipment and tools to remove it correctly, safely, and thoroughly, and faster. 

How do I remove loose insulation?

Hiring a professional company for insulation removal from the attic or your walls is recommended. However, nobody is unaware of budgeting and if you need or want to go the DIY route, the following steps are required to do a complete, safe, and thorough job.

Cellulose Insulation Removal Steps: 

Take safety precautions and wear a mask and gloves, using only a high powered 1500 HP-plus shop vac with adequate suction power for insulation removal. 

  • Cover all the furniture throughout your home with plastic to keep the cellulose insulation dust off. 
  • Purchase large plastic trash bags, construction quality is recommended and available at home improvement stores.  Each bag will need to have all the squeezed from them once full. 

This process will take up to 10 hours, longer if you have more than one attic. 

Fiberglass Batt Insulation Removal Steps: 

Again, wear a mask, gloves, and also googles and long sleeves. 

  • Start at the attic corner farthest from the access point and begin folding/rolling the batts. 
  • As you get to the attic access, stuff the rolled insulation in a large plastic garbage bag. 

Depending on the roof pitch and the number of attic you have, this insulation removal can take up to 8 hours. 

Can you burn old insulation?

You can try, but it will just melt because insulation is made from shredded glass that is simply spun  after being melted. Think of it as cotton candy. So,  fiberglass is non-combustible, but with a really hot fire, it will melt. What will burn is the foil facing and kraft paper which are combustible, household fires are often caused or fueled by the foil and paper parts. 

new insulation

How do I dispose of old insulation?

Once your blown-in cellulose or fiberglass insulation removal is complete, not what? You have dozens of bags filled with insulation sitting in the driveway. Well, you can be fairly sure the sanitation department staff won’t be collecting them. 

You can take them to the local waste management location, but some aren’t equipped to accept and process insulation materials. They will probably redirect you to an insulation dump site where you’ll be charged a hefty fee, could be a few hundred dollars. That is money you could have paid a professional to do your insulation removal for you. Call 817-781-8781 today for your insulation service needs in , TX.

Does Duct Cleaning improve air quality?

dust in an hvac system

Is Air Duct Cleaning a ripoff?

Fall of 2020 and winter of 2021 found us all in quarantine, locked inside our homes with only cautious and quick escapes to the store. This means that we were locked in together, breathing in the air the others were breathing out, and whether it was the ill-fated virus that locked the entire world down, it still wasn’t the healthiest of situations. Especially if your home included pets, then the pet dander was a factor, and all of that has landed in our HVAC ducts

Yes, we can look at any one of the hvac duct for dust collection that accumulated there over the past year, then realize that we’ve all been breathing this in for a year now. You can be certain that even the most cleanest person on earth has dust in their HVAC ducts. Maybe not as much as a household with 10 kids, 6 pets and 2 adults, but yes, there isn’t any HVAC ducts that are dust free, even an empty house will have dust in the air. 

HVAC duct cleaning service has become a popular service over the past few years. You see vans going through neighborhoods with their logo on the side, and they seem to be busy, but you still wonder, it that really a necessary service? While there hasn’t been any research to show your home’s air quality will improve with your HVAC ducts professionally cleaned, nothing has proved it doesn’t help either. 

However, there has been evidence that when dirty cooling and heating, your HVAC system isn’t working as efficient as it should. That includes the coils, motors, and the air handling unit. After you have had your HVAC ducts cleaned by a professional service, ask to see what they removed. Once you realize that was in your home’s HVAC ducts and the air you were breathing in from the vents was blowing across that, you may feel differently. 

HVAC ducts that are professionally services with specialized equipment and tools for hvac duct and vent cleaning, and property hvac duct connectors  that gets more than the dirt and dust. The blowers, brushes, and vacuums, they use to clean the intake, and return ducts are getting all that pet dander too, which you’ve been breathing in all this time. 

Can I clean my air ducts myself?

You can attempt the job of cleaning your own HVAC ducts, but it isn’t recommended. Why? Because the process of getting to the nitty gritty, requires hvac duct cleaning tools. Among those tools are high-powered vacuums and rotary brushes, not equipment or tools that the average homeowner doesn’t have in their garage. In an attempt to clean your own HVAC ducts, you could damage the ducts and have to call a professional to repair them, much more expensive than having a professional HVAC duct cleaning. 

What happens if you don’t clean your air ducts?

As we mentioned earlier in this piece, have your HVAC ducts professional cleaned one time and ask to see what they removed. Then when you see what collects inside your air ducts, you may realize why everyone in the house has allergies and breathing issues. What contaminants exactly collect in the HVAC ducts? 

  • Dust – from your carpet and furniture.
  • Dirt – as it is tracking in from outside, it gets up in the HVAC ducts.
  • Pet dander – if you have a pet, there is dander, and it is getting sucked up into the HVAC ducts.
  • Insects and pest – Yes, there is an assorted amount of insects and pests that make their home in HVAC ducts. This includes mice, roaches, and others. Each time your HVAC system blows air, it is blowing over the bacteria and germs these have left behind. 

Dirty HVAC ducts can make your family sick too. If anyone in your home suffers with chronic health issues or respiratory illnesses, dirty HVAC ducts are only going to make it harder on them. Even the healthiest person in your home will start having coughs, headaches, and sneezing. 

With dirty HVAC ducts, the HVAC system has to work harder and longer, which will show up on your energy bills. You’ll also notice it isn’t cooling or heating as well as it should, and that can all be related to dirty HVAC ducts. 

AC vents

What is the best location for HVAC ducts?

Installing HVAC ducts can be done right, or they can be done wrong, yet there isn’t any hard set rules on where they are to be placed. Why? Because each house is different. One thing for sure, each room in the house should have at least one HVAC duct, and depending on the room size, it may need two or more. 

For the heating, because heat rises, the best place to install HVAC ducts is the floor or at the baseboard. Basements and crawlspaces are good places for HVAC ducts because the heat won’t have to travel as far, making it more efficient. 

So, cleaning HVAC ducts is recommended, but at the end of the day, it is a personal decision.  There are issues to be considered and if you’re noticing a cut in the air flow or an odor coming from the HVAC ducts, it would be worthwhile having them professionally cleaned.  Call 817-781-8781 today for your duct cleaning needs in Fort Worth, TX.

How do I test my home efficiency?

Energy checks in home

What does an energy assessment involve?

Are your energy bills getting a bit out of line for the budget? Maybe the electricity went up more than you expected this past summer, and the gas bill has almost doubled this winter even though the winter has been milder.  It may be time to consider a home energy test. An energy test for homes can tell you a lot about your home and where you’re losing energy when cooling, heating, and even the ‘silent thieves’ that have infiltrated your home.

A licensed and professional certified energy auditor will visit your home and assess your property for it energy efficiency.  An energy assessment for residential property involves the following:

  • Establish the age and construction method of the residence.
  • Measure the floor and wall areas of the residence.
  • Inspect the heating system.
  • Identify existing insulation in attic and  cavity walls.
  • Identify any alternative heat source  and energy-efficient items.

The certified energy auditor will collect detailed data on the residence  as outlined by the Department of Energy and issue a certificate. The detailed data the certified energy auditor collects will include items on a government issued energy audit checklist.

What is an energy audit checklist?

A general home energy test is based on an energy audit checklist that will assess the energy efficiency of your residence by a Certified energy auditor. The certified energy auditor will inspect the appliances and equipment within the home and how they are used. It will include a review of your home’s design and based on the data they gather using the home energy test checklist, they can identify prospects where you can reduce your energy cost, usage, and provide solutions to improve these areas.

The Heat Efficiency

The entire heating system is evaluated for the following:

  • The age, brand, condition, and model number.
  • The type of energy used for the heating system.

The heating system evaluation includes the blower motor, fan, thermostat, timer, and all components that create and distribute the heat. This evaluation enables the certified energy auditor to collect the energy efficiency data of the heating system.

The Insulation Efficiency

The certified energy auditor will evaluate the type of insulation that is installed within the residence. The certified energy auditor will measure the existing insulation and do a comparison to the current standards:

  • Attic insulation – what is the dept vs what is recommended.
  • Wall insulation – The existing wall insulation is examined and compared to the recommendation.
  • Double glazing – The glazing on doors and windows s checked and compared to what is recommended.

What are the three things an energy audit will tell you?

There are two types of  home energy efficiency test or home energy audits:

  • The Home Energy Survey: A visual inspection that will not use any type of diagnostic testing equipment.
  • The General Energy Audit: Also referred to as a detailed energy audit or standard energy audit. Thishome energy test will collect detailed information, expanding on the home energy survey involving the energy usage of the home and provide a financial analysis of the energy expenses.

Can you do your own energy audit?

A professional home energy test will be more thorough and informative, but a “do-it-yourself” home energy test can be helpful. With the DIY home energy test, you can pinpoint some areas that need to be addressed. As you walk through your home looking for issues, create a checklist so you’ll know what you what problems you identified. This checklist will allow you to list what needs immediate attention first.  

How do I do an energy audit on my house?

The following is a step-by-step of what to check for a DIY home energy test:

  • Air Drafts: The first step in a home energy step is to list the air leaks and drafts that are obvious. By reducing those air drafts, you can save up to 20% a year in energy costs. Those air leaks can be found along the baseboards and where the floor and wall meet. Areas, where two different part of the house meet on the exterior, are subject to be an area of air leaks.  Check around the doors, lighting, light switches, windows, and electrical outlands, and plumbing fixtures.
  • Ventilation: When insulating or sealing your home for energy efficiency, be cautious with back drafting combustible appliances and exhaust fans that require air.
  • Insulation: The heat that is lost through the ceiling and walls of your home may be larger than you think. When a house is built, the builder will typically put the recommended insulation. With the price of energy today though, that insulation is probably inadequate.
  • Cooling and Heating Equipment: Inspect the cooling and heating equipment every year and replacing the filter every 30 days is always recommended. Make sure the system is free of dirt, dust, and nothing blocking the vents.
  • Lighting: The lights in your home are responsible for as much as 10% of the energy costs. Replace the current bulbs as they burn out compact fluorescent lamps, incandescent, or light-emitting diodes. Some utility companies offer incentives like rebates for using energy-efficient lamps. 
  • The Appliances and Electronics: Your energy cost is affected by how you use your appliances and electronics.  Estimate the energy use of these and then look for ways to reduce your energy use with them, like unplugging what you’re not using, change the setting for items like computers to go to sleep, and when buying new, buy products that are more energy-efficient.
HVAC system

What is a home energy audit blower door test?

A temporary “blower door” outfitted with a powerful fan and installed in your back or front door’s frame. Then the fan is turned on and sucks the indoor air outside. The purpose of these ties to is to measure your home’s airtightness, which is a larger part of your home’s energy efficiency.

In summary, a home energy rating system test is an analysis of the construction plans and onsite inspections of a home and based on that information, a Home Energy Rater will use a software package designed specifically to analyze and measure energy efficiency. 

A DIY home energy test is the next best thing when you can’t afford or arrange a professional home energy test. Follow the steps we have provided here or surf the internet for a more comprehensive DIY home energy test. Call 817-781-8781 today to get started on a home energy audit or blower door test in Fort Worth, TX

How can I make my home more energy efficient?

thermostat adjustment for energy efficiency

What uses the most energy in your home?

With more and more homeowners becoming conscious with home energy efficiency, we’re seeing more solar power panels and smart electric meters, etc. Who doesn’t want to find ways to save money on their monthly energy expenses? Today, most of us are looking for more ways for home energy efficiency and sustainability, helping our personal budgets and the Earth too. 

The power company measures electricity usage in kilowatt-hours, you’ll see it as kWh on your monthly bill.  When you want to calculate the energy an appliance uses, multiply the amount of time it is used each day by the wattage is requires, then multiply that by 0.001 to get the kWh number. After all that ‘figuring’ though, here is what the average use of electricity is used by 5 of the biggest energy consuming things in our homes that may be negating your home energy efficiency efforts: 

  1. Central air conditioning and heating: 46 percent of our electricity is the comfort zone. The average HVAC unit uses 3500 watts by running up to three times an hour for fifteen minutes. In a twenty-four hours, an HVAC system can use up to 63 kWh or 1,950 kWh a month. 
  2. Water heaters: 14 percent of our electricity is heating water for bathing, dishes, and laundry. With a properly running water heater, the average is three hours a day, using 4500 watts or 13.5 kWh per day. That is 405 kWh each month. .
  3. Appliances: 13 percent of our electricity is in the kitchen! The refrigerator has to run all day, using 225 watts which is 162 kWh a month. Your washer and dryer together are guilty of using five percent or 3045 watt while your oven uses 2,500 watts and the stove top uses 1,500 watt. 
  4. Lights: 9 percent of your electrical bill is caused by lights. Leave a 100-watt incandescent bulb on for two hours a day it is going to use  6 kWh per month. That doesn’t sound like much until you add up how many lights are in your house. 
  5.  Media and televisions: 4 percent of an average home’s use is the electronics we can’t live without. With 5 hours of television viewing a day and 6 hours a week on the video games, you’re using as much as 55 kWh monthly. 

How can I use less energy?

Now that you know what is using the most electricity in your home, energy saving bills should be your next focus. Try these home energy efficiency steps and you could save as much as $500 a year. The savings will depend on the size of your home, and the age and condition using this home energy efficiency checklist:

  1. Turn off the lights: Save $15 a year by turning off two 100-watt incandescent bulbs two hours a day or switch to LED.
  2. Natural light: This is free! When you use natural light instead of one 60-watt light bulb for four hours, you can save $9 annually. 
  3. Task lighting: Instead of overhead lighting and tabletop lighting, install tracking lighting and under-counter task lighting. 
  4. Shorten the showers: With only 2 people in the house taking a shower for one less minute a day, you can save $30 or more each year.
  5. Turn the water off: While you brush your teeth, shave, or wash your hands, turn the water off until you’re ready to rinse and save almost $20 a year.
  6. Leaky faucets: This is the biggest water waste in the country. Fix a leaking hot water faucet and you’ll save almost $10 in one year.  
  7. Unplug the unused: When electronics are in standby power mode, they are consuming up to 10% of your electricity usage. If you’re not using it – unplug it. 
  8. Dump desktop computers: Time to replace any desktop computer with a laptop and save $4 a year with each 2 hours of use.
  9. Update the TV: Time to upgrade to the LCD televisions and for every 2 hours you want the new 42” display, you’ll save $6 a year.
  10. Thermostat management: Raise the thermostat on your electric furnace 2 degrees and save as much as $120 a year. 

Other things that can make a difference in your home energy efficiency efforts is the type of window coverings you choose, cook outside during the summer to keep the kitchen cooler and use the microwave in the winter, use the washer and dryer only when you have a full load, wash in cold water and hang things to dry as much as possible. 

What are examples of energy efficiency? and How do you maximize energy efficiency?

Home energy efficiency is finding ways to consume less energy in everyday things. From reducing the electricity and water we use to finding ways of making our homes more energy efficient with insulation and better windows. Find a better way to do the things you do every day, and then improve upon that is the best home energy efficiency advice. 

Home energy efficiency is using the sun for heat by way of solar panels and lighting instead of lamps. Changing lamps from traditional incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs. Keeping home maintenance up is a huge part of home energy efficiency too, like running toilets and dripping faucets. Home energy and efficiency should be hand-in-hand in our homes today. 

changing out the lightbulbs

What are 5 ways to save energy?

We reviewed several things in this piece today, and some may sound redundant, which it is but it isn’t. If you can’t decide what to take away from this piece, here are five ways you can practice home energy efficiency:

  • Turn off ceiling fans and lights off when you leave a room.
  • Close your drapes, close the blinds, or pull down window shades during the heat of the day during the summer. Open the south facing side up in the winter.
  • Use cold water when doing laundry
  • Cover or wrap drinks and foods in the refrigerator.
  • Use cold water at the faucet for a quick rinse instead of turning on the hot water.

When you want to get better home energy efficiency in Fort Worth, TX, we are here to help. Call 817-781-8781 today!

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!