For more than two weeks we have been down in the basement looking at all sorts of things; mostly Cold Air Penetration and how it affects The Chimney Effect. As we have said as the cold air enters in the basement it will follow a Path somewhere up inside the house where it will exit. That process of Cold Air Penetration, Path, and Exit is what makes up The Chimney Effect.
Nothing works all by itself and the Cold Air that enters the house in the basement needs a place to exit. Without that exit the Chimney Effect will be greatly reduced which is our goal.
The tighter the Building Envelope is built the less cold air enters and the less warm air exits. Today’s modern construction techniques have as a major goal to build a very tight energy efficient home. The tighter we build new home the more stagnant the interior air will become and thus the greatly increased need for fresh air inside the home. That is all taken care of using a Heat Recovery Ventilation system (HRV), which we will talk about another day. Stay tuned, we will talk about HRV’s,
As air moves through your home it follows a Path. Our aim is to make significant progress with minimal work and at little costs. So today let’s find those places where the warm air exits your home taking precious heat with it.
As you sit in your living room reading this article look up at the ceiling. If your home is like many others you have Recessed Can Lights / Recessed Lighting. In order to put a recessed light in the ceiling it needs a relatively large hole that is somewhat filled with the lighting fixture. What you don’t see is how that lighting fixture protrudes up into the attic and how on top of the light fixture the insulation is almost always much less. Put all that together and you have a huge hole in your ceiling that is unprotected with insulation and POOF air has just found the Path of least resistance and heat is pouring out of your beautiful home. This scenario applies to most ceiling light fixtures but the really nasty culprit is the Recessed Can.
Several years ago I went to an energy workshop and the advice was emphatic. “….do not install recessed lighting!” That meant NONE, don’t do it. Or more loosely translated it equates into nadda, zip, zilch, none, don’t, and so on.
There are several ways to improve on the effectiveness of Recessed Can lights and we will look at that tomorrow. However, if you were considering adding them to the family room this weekend our suggestion is simple – don’t!