With the recent massive hail storm Phoenix experience two years ago, many homeowners in Glendale were able to claim new roofs and AC units and roofing companies started popping up from out of nowhere. One thing roofing company’s love is attic ventilation and without an understanding of how a home performs as a system, this can be more harmful than helpful.
Attic ventilation can seem to be a good thing, you cool down your attic in the summer and less heat will get into your home. Many homeowners also get told more attic ventilation will extend the life of the roof and when roofing sales people start down that path combined with homeowner speculation, too much of a good thing becomes bad.
See roofers gone wild at:
There is no documentation that attic fans actually extend the life of roofs and no documentation that they even help cool an attic. I have stood in from of many attic fans and solar attic fans while performing energy analysis and blowing insulation and I can’t feel a thing. I also didn't feel any cooler in an attic with a huge power fan than an attic without. Well enough of my experience, let’s look at the studies that have been done on this topic.
It has been proven that attic fans installed without air and duct sealing a home will pull your conditioned air up from the house and into the attic. Yes that’s right, the average house an equivalent of a 1 sq ft window open all the time from leakage connections to the attic. If you had an attic fan that moves a lot of air you might as well leave your door open while the AC is running.
Where attic fans become harmful is when they start pulling carbon monoxide in from an attached garage and cause a gas water heater to backdraft or pilot lights to go out on gas appliances. Air leaks and wasting energy is fine, that can be fixed but having family become sick because of CO poisoning is dangerous and people need to be aware of attic fan side effects.
Proof about attic fans and their lies:
“Unplanned Impacts On Houses By Powered Attic Ventilators” http://www.advancedenergy.org/buildings/knowledge_library/ventilation/Attic%20Ventilation%20Case%20Studies.pdf
The best way to slow the attic heat from getting inside is simply adding more insulation. Yes the garage and the attic gets very hot in the summer, and heat transfer is driven by temperature differences… but it is also driven by pressures (your AC unit) and pathways (holes and leakage). You can greatly slow down the transfer of heat into your home with properly installed insulation up to R-30, air sealing attic penetrations and properly sealing your ductwork with verification testing. If you are purchasing a new roof, light colored shingles are a great way to reflect the sunlight and making sure your home complies with current codes for attic ventilation. Usually your home already has enough ventilation especially if you have the bird hole venting with gable vents on both sides of your attic, you don’t need any more attic ventilation. As always if you like this article like us on Facebook for more energy saving tips!
It’s obvious that APS makes money the more energy you use but there are times when even their power plants get stressed from too much, or peak demand. In Arizona, guess when that happens? When it’s 110 degrees outside and you want to keep a cool 78 degrees in your home. With your air conditioner being the biggest energy user in your home, it’s no wonder why APS gets a little stressed during these times… and it’s because of those peak demands that the utility company incentivizes it’s customers to lower its energy use during those times. To further the energy issue, the Federal government has mandated that APS reduce its electric usage by 20% by 2020. That is the main reason why APS is paying its customers to make their homes more energy efficient and sponsoring the Home Performance With Energy Star energy audit program. The APS energy audit program has the same affect on you, the homeowner in that it is designed to lower your energy bill each month but there is a big difference in the way that is accomplished.
The biggest difference is the APS time-of-use plan and residential rate plan is about energy conservation, whereas the energy upgrades to make your home more efficient is about energy efficiency. Saving energy at home through conservation is about tweeking your lifestyle to save energy, putting on a sweater when it gets cold outside rather than turning the heater on, turning the thermostat up in the summer even while you are home are energy conservation examples.
What I love and do everyday is about energy efficiency, and that is designing and installing a better constructed home to work more efficiently, so your energy bills go down every month, but you don’t have to change a thing and you are more comfortable. These are things like checking and sealing the ductwork for leaks, airflow and room pressure issues and adding more insulation which can make a huge difference in how your home operates as a system. So that was your tip for the day, now let’s get back to APS rate plans.
APS has several rate plans and depending on your schedule. They are best suited for people that are regularly done for work Monday to Friday.
I thought APS had another 9 am – 6 pm rate plan, but as of this blog, I couldn’t find it on their website. There is also the equalizer plan which many people like because of its predictability… except when it’s not predictable. Under the Equalizer Plan you may the same amount on your bills each month as your usage is averaged over 9 to 12 months. More information on the APS Equalizer Plan can be found below:
If you are interested in other energy efficiency ideas, take our quick quiz to the right sidebar and we’ll send you some insider DIY tips to save money on you bills.
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