The Stack Effect: How It Affects Heating in Fresno
There are many technical reasons that cause the rise of your energy bill during the winter months. A poorly placed thermostat that reads the temperature wrong, a furnace that short cycles and goes on and off in short, rapid intervals, or frozen pipes that blocks proper airflow are some of the common problems experienced heating contractors in Fresno have to face day to day.
Oftentimes, these issues are resolved after a service visit and can be prevented from happening again in the future through annual maintenance. Navigate through our site for other causes of unexpected system breakdown and common service issues.
But did you know that there is a natural way of effectively heating your home or office? This natural way of controlling the home temperature is called Stack Ventilation or Stack Effect. According to Home Energy Conservation:
“The “stack effect” is when warm air moves upward in a building. This happens in summer and winter, but is most pronounced in the winter because indoor-outdoor temperature differences are the greatest. Warm air rises because it’s lighter than cold air. So when indoor air is warmer than the outdoor air, it escapes out of the upper levels of the building, through open windows, ventilation openings, or penetrations and cracks in the building envelope. The rising warm air reduces the pressure in the base of the building, forcing cold air to infiltrate through open doors, windows, or other openings. The stack effect basically causes air infiltration on the lower portion of a building and exfiltration on the upper part.”
What Does This Mean for your Winter Heating?
Outside cold air finds its way into the house, and pushes the warm air upwards. As warm air swarms up, especially in homes with a second floor, there will be excessive heating or overheating. People staying on the second floor may open windows to find relief. This relieves the pressure build-up at the top but will draw in more cold air at the bottom. With colder air settling in the bottom floor, the occupants will more likely turn up the thermostat.
The huge difference between the temperatures in both floors will only cause discomfort to everyone.
Other Side Effects of Stack Ventilation
Possible moisture damage – There’s always moisture in the air. With the uneven temperature within the house, the moisture may condense on cold surfaces. With condensation, the more cold air seeps in through small openings or holes in the wall, the more it can possibly accumulate mold.
Wasted energy – What happens when conditioned air escapes outside? Energy is wasted. As your heating system continues to work to even out the temperature in the whole house, it eats up more energy than necessary. Just imagine what it will cost you to pay for something you haven’t been able to get most of. Plus, an overworked system will eventually damage itself and breakdown.