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Green Building Blog

Heating and cooling the outside

THIS IS NO PLACE FOR HVAC EQUIPMENT— Even insulated, this is a big energy waster. This may have been the easy way to install an air handler (though it doesn't look too easy), it isn't the green way.
Image Credit: Daniel Morrison

What’s wrong with this picture?

a) The air handler and duct work are in the hottest and coldest part of the house.

b) The wall insulation isn’t working.

c) There’s more insulation on the wall than on the ductwork.

d) All of the above.

I wonder if the people who live in this house have young kids. And I wonder if they ever say to those young kids “Close the door, we’re not heating (cooling) the outside.” I used to hear it from my Mom, and I’m sure most every other person since the cave man days has heard it too.

Unfortunately, if your attic looks like this, you actually are indeed, heating and cooling the outdoors.

The answer is probably ‘d, all of the above.’ This little attic is pounded with direct sun during the hottest part of the day in summer and is the coldest part of the house in winter. But that’s not to say that the house isn’t cold in winter too, it is. The insulation on the floor and walls is so loose and has so many gaps that it’s almost like having nothing at all.

But maybe the answer is ‘a and b, but not c’

Hard to really say. The wall insulation’s label says it’s a higher R than the duct insulation, but considering how poorly the walls look to be insulated, the ducts probably have a higher effective R-value.

One Comment

  1. John Brooks | | #1

    Dan..this is a great
    Dan..this is a great illustration.
    I have seen many attics in N.Texas that are even worse.
    Even the best air handling equipment leaks air also.
    This is so typical.
    I have to admit that this is an Architectural problem.
    The mechanical systems are almost always afterthoughts.

    Also looks like the condensate line is not going downhill.

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