September 13, 2021
A lot has happened since we started this mythbuster series back in 2015 - but one thing that has not changed is our desire to clear up some of these common home performance misunderstandings and myths. Here are three more home performance myths specific to California and the East Bay area, and how you can take this knowledge and turn it into a more efficient, more comfortable home!
Myth #1: The lower a thermostat is set, the faster the home will cool down
For most homes with an air conditioning system, there is no thermostat setting that will cool your home down any faster that the AC unit will allow, not even lowering the temperature all the way down to 0ºF.
When the temperature in your home is say, 80ºF on a spring day, and you set your thermostat to 75º to cool it down, your AC unit turns on and starts blowing cold air into your living space. If you were to set the thermostat up to 77º, or even down further 60ºF, your air conditioner will provide air at a constant rate until the set thermostat temperature is reached.
Myth #2: The attic does not affect the temperature in a home
It surprises many homeowners when they realize that an underinsulated and leaky attic can have year round consequences inside the living space below. Your attic serves as a buffer between your living space and the outdoors, and that buffer space should include services of interconnected systems that keep unwanted temperatures outside, and prevents any energy from escaping your home. An attic here in the East Bay area should be:
Insulation reduces the amount of outside heat from infiltrating your home through the materials it is constructed with, and slows down the transfer of heat coming from inside your home. If your attic is allowed to heat up too much in the summer, or cool down too much in the winter, it will make it much harder for your heating and cooling system to keep up.
Most homes here in the US are underinsulated, which is a shame when you consider that proper insulation can save an estimated 15% on energy costs when installed in the correct places, such as:
- The attic
- Exterior walls
Another gateway for energy loss and unwanted temperatures is the tiny air holes and gaps hidden throughout your home (especially in the attic). These tiny air holes can undermine the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems, and also allow excess outdoor contaminants to infiltrate your indoor air. These contaminants often end up in a never ending loop of recirculation in your home, proving ample opportunity for these contaminants to exacerbate any respiratory issues or health concerns for those living in your house.
Myth #3: Upgrading to all electric appliances will cost more in monthly energy bills
Have you heard all the buzz around the all-electric home, or electrification lately? The city of Berkeley put a ban on new natural gas lines in an effort to bring California closer to its carbon reduction goal for the year 2045, and there are multiple rebates available for homeowners looking to switch from fossil-fuel-based systems to all-electric appliances.
With more appliances in your home that use electricity, wouldn’t it stand to reason that you would use more electricity? Not when it is done correctly. The first, most important step in electrification is reducing the energy loss in a home. Once your home is airtight and as efficiency as possible through the upgrades recommended during an energy audit*, the Hassler team can pair you with a system of energy efficiency equipment that often will utilize less energy than older, inefficient appliances. Plus, after going all electric you may no longer have a gas bill!
*Results of an energy audit and the impending upgrades will vary.