In the middle of the summer, you know you can’t live without your air conditioning, especially when the sun is beating down. An air conditioner alone isn’t enough to keep your home cool — you also need high quality insulation. For many people, this part of the equation is like a magic blanket — they don’t understand how it works, but they’re really glad it does.
Insulation’s function is no mystery to anyone — it’s just a way to slow natural heat transfer via conduction, convection and radiation. Even though it won’t make a difference in how your insulation works, understanding these basic concepts can unlock the secrets to keeping your home cool all summer:
Conduction. When one side of an object, such as a wall, is hotter than the other, heat can move through the material, causing the object to become more equally heated. Warm walls serve as an unwanted source of heat.
Convection. Heat moving through the air is known as convection. Poor weatherstripping or missing caulk allow the hot air from outside to move indoors and mix with the cooler air. This mixing makes it harder for your air conditioner to keep your home cool, since it must constantly re-cool that warmer air.
Radiation. Unlike with conduction and convection, heat traveling via radiation doesn’t require objects or air masses of different temperatures for transportation — all it needs are electromagnetic waves, which can move through vacuums and solids alike. Generally, heat moving via radiation enters your home directly via the sun’s rays.
All hot air will eventually move from warmer areas to cooler areas in an effort to achieve a type of equilibrium, but by improving your insulation, you can slow this process down tremendously. In a poorly insulated home, the various types of heat transfer can literally heat the indoor air faster than your air conditioner can cool it. This results in an endless cycle of cooling that will wear out your air conditioner fast while it struggles to provide even a minimal amount of cooling.
Sealing the air leaks in your home is an important part of keeping the cool air from heating up, but insulation is the biggest player on the scene. Insulation is rated based on its resistance to heat conduction, using a measurement called thermal resistance. Most people know this as the R-value, and it has one simple rule: the bigger, the better.
Batt and blow-in insulation rely on the relatively poor heat conductivity of air to help slow the creep of heat from the outdoors into your air conditioned living spaces. The tiny pockets of air that permeate properly installed insulation make it more difficult for heat to move across the material because the density of the insulation is greatly reduced. Less dense materials are harder to heat, since their particles are much further apart, so fluffy insulation is the key.
Sometimes a home that once had excellent insulation may start heating up too quickly, indicating that the insulation is in trouble. Ideally, you should check your insulation once a year, just to be sure everything’s working well, but when the temperature suddenly climbs, pop into the attic and crawlspace and look for insulation that is:
Missing. Animals and past home improvement projects are often the culprits with missing insulation. Obviously, any spot that’s missing its blanket can’t do as good of a job of preventing heat movement as the area around it, so go in and add some more!
Smashed. Like with missing insulation, smashed insulation is often caused by humans or creatures. Unfortunately, you can’t uncrush insulation, so you’ll have to replace it. Make sure to remove any soiled pieces, too, to prevent further attic problems.
Wet. Moisture changes the properties of insulation, increasing its conductivity and sometimes leading to crushing damage, depending on the source of the wetness. Check for leaky pipes if there are no signs of animal damage and make sure your vents are working right when you find wet insulation. If it’s only moisture from condensation, it will dry, but remove any insulation that has been crushed under the weight of roof and pipe leaks or pooling water.
Air conditioners that are struggling to keep your home cool or start blowing out warm air should be checked by a licensed technician like the ones at Precision Air and Plumbing. If your unit checks out, we’ll be happy to take a look at the insulation and even suggest ways to keep your home cooler. Give us a call today at 1-602-349-6922 to set up your HVAC appointment. We’re standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to serve you.
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I wanted to make sure my air conditioner was ready for summer. Fernando came out and made sure my unit was tip top. He was friendly, professional and not a sales man. Thanks Fernando!
Colin and Andrea were incredibly professional and knowledgeable. They did a great job representing the company. We will definitely contact them again for any HVAC needs that arise.
We woke up in the middle of the nite on memorial day to a hot house. I called precision at 6am and they were here before noon. Simple problem fixed, cool house. I love these guys!
Thank you Ray at Precision Air...the compressor on our AC went out last night and the house was HOT. This morning Ray was there to replace the compressor and had us feeling the cool air again in no time. Great customer service...quick response time and friendly from the first call until the repair was completed. Ray even offered to clean the filters! Thank you!!
I’m so glad I called Precision for my annual AC checkup!! Austin was professional, super friendly and answered all my questions. I’ve had more bad experiences with AC companies here in the valley than good ones. Precision Air will have all my hvac business going forward!! Thanks for being a reputable and honest company!!!
He did a great job; professional and knowledgeable! Kalin is the technician’s name and Precision Air and Plumbing should take a bow for hiring such an invaluable employee!!!
Precision Air is a company of integrity. I signed up with them August 1st, 2019 for their AC maintenance plan for 2 years... Someone from their office called me a week ago to set up their yearly maintenance visit. SO GRATEFUL.
Precision Air and Plumbing is a wonderful company to work with! They are very experienced and professional. They have helped us in our home for many years via a/c service and air duct cleaning.
It was time to replace our AC, and so our choice was Precision Air, as we've been with them for over 20 years. Teman & Julian did an excellent job on the installation today, arriving on time.