Heat stack effect is a common problem that is most noticeable in multi-story homes and buildings. Heat stack effect is a natural phenomenon where basically heat rises in homes and buildings. This makes the elevated floors hotter than the lower levels. Single story homes don’t often feel the stack effect. However, for second story homes it is a common complaint as the top floor is much hotter and is more difficult to control. Jacob's Ladder Heating & Cooling will explain more about the heat stack effect and what you can do to help reduce its effect.
The heat stack effect or stack effect is a natural phenomenon where heat rises just as smoke in a chimney does or when a home or building funnels the heat upward and through the home. The stack effect occurs when the temperatures are greatly different between the floors inside the home. Since cold air is denser it pushes the warm air up. This is why the taller the structure, the hotter it will be at the top. Heat stack effect is an obvious problem for multi-storied homes, apartments, and hotels. Heat stack effect is also a year around problem. The lower level stays too cold in the winter and too hot in the upper floors in the summer. Not only does the stack effect make it more difficult to control the temperature, it creates strong drafts. It also sucks in the air from outside, which is why it hard to pull a door open. When a home or commercial building HVAC system is poorly designed and managed, the heat stack effect can become worse, as will energy waste and a higher utility bill.
Managing the stack effect starts with properly installed and quality insulation. Stack effect happens because the warm air has somewhere to go, which in most cases is the upper levels. In most residential homes the heat stack effect occurs because of poor attic insulation. The heat can travel through light fixture recesses, outlets, and ventilation if not properly sealed. The attic insulation plays a vital role in reducing the stack effect. In older homes often the insulation wears down and requires the need to be replaced to ensure the home is properly insulated. Making sure the home is properly sealed is another factor. If outdoor temperatures are entering inside the home through an air leak it can create a more dramatic stack effect. Make sure your home’s exterior doors, and windows are properly sealed to prevent air leaks.
During a basic HVAC tune up, often the attic insulation is inspected to help insure proper insulation. Other sources that can trigger the stack effect is a leaky air duct system which should also be inspected and repaired when needed. Combined with homeowner diligence in maintaining and preventing air leaks and insulation, with the efforts of a professional HVAC technician, you can reduce heat stack effect in your home. With proper management you can have a cooler home and a lower utility bill. If you are having trouble keeping your home cool this summer season, contact Jacob's Ladder Heating & Cooling for all of your HVAC needs.