While you make many large purchases in your life, there is no bigger investment than your home. So, it goes without saying that you should keep that investment in the best working order possible. As issues come up, like foundation issues, it is important to stay on top of it in order to maintain the home’s value.
Many people want to make sure that their house is energy efficient, but they are usually only thinking about what’s inside their house. Things like getting a more energy efficient refrigerator or making sure that the heating and cooling systems are running well. Little do they know that the foundation of the house plays a large role in a house’s condition as well.
Foundation Issues Affect Heating & HVAC Systems
What many people forget to think about when it comes to keeping the home warm or cool is the home’s foundations. The foundation of a house can have a huge impact on heating and cooling costs. Especially in older buildings with uninsulated foundation. Even more, if a home starts to have foundation issues, it causes more heating and cooling issues.
When homeowners hear foundation problems, they think the worst case scenario. That instinct isn’t wrong. A strong and secure foundation for a home is important. The main reason the foundation is important is that it gives your home a firm and solid base.
Ignoring issues with the home’s foundation can only make the problems worse. In addition to that, a home with cracks in the foundation can cause air leaks that can slowly cause the heating and cooling bills to increase.
Bad Foundation Causes HVAC Issues
Foundation problems can come in many different forms and the effects are not always apparent. Especially with older homes, a sign of a foundation issue is a sloping floor. Given, there are other reasons that a floor could be sloping but the main reason is due to the foundation.
A sloping floor can cause the floor and door jambs to have gaps. It can also cause cracks around the windows. When there are gaps in the door jamb and the floor, it can cause the air from your home to escape. This also allows the outside air, whether it is cold or warm, to come into the home. These cracks and gaps can cause a steady increase in your heating and cooling bills.
Extreme foundation issues can cause the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system to become imbalanced. When the foundation issues become severe, the ducts can eventually separate from one another.
This can cause the HVAC to become imbalanced and cause temperature issues. Temperature level issues with an HVAC system can cause the system to decline rapidly and make the home feel, stuffy, cold or uncomfortable.
If you see these changes, it is recommended to get a professional foundation inspection done by a structural engineer. In addition to these issues with the HVAC, if you see other signs of foundation issues, like cracks in the walls, cracks in the flooring, or doors that do not stay shut, it is vital to get a professional foundation inspection.
While there can be a hefty cost for a foundation inspection, from $500 to $700, it is worth being proactive. Spot the problem before it becomes an even more costly problem.
Foundation and Insulation Affect HVAC Systems
Insulation is what helps the home maintain its heat or keeps it cool. A home will retain more of its heating and cooling when the foundation walls are well insulated. It is even better when the foundation itself is insulated as well.
When the foundation is properly insulated, the below ground rooms, like in a basement or finished family space, are more comfortable. It will also save money on your heating and cooling costs if the spaces in your basement are conditioned as well.
The type of insulation is also important when it comes to making sure the foundation walls and foundation are well insulated. Newer homes often have insulation built into the foundation itself. Materials like insulating concrete and concrete blocks are often used.
In older homes, the home can be retrofitted by adding insulation to the interior and exterior walls of crawl spaces and basement. Adding rigid foam board to the outside of the home’s underground foundation helps.
Retrofitting a home can be expensive depending on how the home was built and how deep the construction crew has to dig in order to install the foam board. If you have extremely high heating and cooling costs or if the basement has moisture issues, this can be a good idea.
Also, if you are planning on having a finished basement or a family room in the basement, having this kind of insulation can be practical. Since this kind of work involves the foundation, it is vital to make sure the work is done by professional foundation engineers.
Maintain Your HVAC System
There are many ways to keep the heating and cooling costs down. Make sure to have your HVAC system or furnace maintained twice a year. This is especially important during the spring and during the fall. This helps make sure the system is ready for the upcoming change in weather when it will be used most often.
It is best if this routine maintenance is done by an HVAC professional. A licensed professional, like the ones at Cogburn’s Heating and Cooling, can check and see if there are problems starting. These problems may become an issue when the system is being used.
There is more to keeping the energy costs of a house down. The house’s structure can play a large part in it as well. Make sure the attic or crawl space is well insulated. Make sure that you seal cracks and leaks in windows and doors.
Newer homes are designed to be energy efficient. Using techniques like thermal envelopes, and better insulation will help homeowners save and use less energy when it comes to heating and cooling the home.
A home with a lot of gaps and cracks in the seals around doors and windows will have drafts that cause heating and cooling issues. The gaps let the heat escape and the cold air to come in, or in the summer, allows the cold air escape and the heat to come in. The loss can drive the cost of heating and cooling to go up.
It doesn’t matter how efficient the HVAC system is, or how new if there are gaps and leaks, the system cannot work to its full capacity. In extreme conditions, this can make the home feel very uncomfortable. If a home has a crumbling foundation, it can cause more gaps, cracks and air leaks around the structure.
If you notice that there are many leaks coming from gaps in the windows and doors of your home, the first step is to have the foundation looked at. Though, if it takes time to get the foundation issue looked at, or fixed, the next step is to do something about the gaps. This way you are not wasting money heating and cooling the home.
Stop Window Leaks
Adding weather stripping around windows and doors can help to stop the air leaks. Weather stripping is easy to install and can help save money by preventing air from outside coming in and the air from inside from going outside. Another option for windows is to add a window covering. Using plastic over the windows can stop air from leaking through the windows.
Home improvement stores sell plastic that is designed for this purpose and is sealed in place using a heat source like an air dryer. Another option is to use a thick plastic from a roll and secure it in place. Or use foam insulation boards.
The downside of using foam insulation is, while it works great, it blocks out the light coming in. If the leaks allow some air in but not to the extent of needing covering, try closing the drapes or curtains. This will block some of the cold or warm air from leaking in.
These leaks can make your HVAC system work harder than it normally would. It is important to make sure the system is being maintained and that it is working at its best. If the system has to work harder due to things like air leaks, it can cause it to wear down and break faster than it should.
Having the HVAC system professionally maintained can help avoid bigger problems. It can also help keep the system from breaking down just when you need it. If you are looking for a routine maintenance plan, like one that is offered by Cogburn’s, you can save money on the maintenance and service. On top of that, you can have same day service if there is an issue.
Get the Foundation Checked
There are certain tell-tale signs when it comes to problems with the foundation. Look for cracks in the foundation that are more than a quarter inch wide, new cracks in the exterior walls or cracks that are getting larger. You can also look for plumbing leaks that have caused cracks in the slab.
There are also other signs of foundation issues to look out for. Multiple cracks in the wall and windows and doors tat are stuck or misaligned. Look out for cracks in the floor and sloping floors. These can also be signs that there are problems with the foundation. Electrical shorts, cracked and leaky pipes, and separating air conditioning ductwork can be caused by foundation problems.
Do not ignore problems with the foundation. A small problem can turn into a major one when it is ignored. Don’t let issues with the foundation cause you even more money in heating and cooling costs while putting the home at risk. Get a professional foundation inspection.
The following article was provided by Cogburn’s Heating and Air Conditioning, a professional HVAC company in Denton. The services they provide include maintenance, repair and system replacement. To find out more visit their website https://cogburnsheatingandair.com.