The single biggest drawback to sealing and insulating your home.

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I thought when I replaced our 22 year old HVAC system it would get better.

But it hasn’t.

My new 3 ton HVAC system is a dual-stage, variable-speed, high-efficiency, 17 SEER setup. It’s really a top-of-the-line system that Raymond Deblois drew up for me, at Vital Air Systems. And, we all love it.

I especially love the LOW ELECTRIC BILL that I now enjoy, since Reymond replaced that old 13 SEER entry-level system.

So, why am I complaining? And what am I calling a “drawback”?

Afterall, I practice what I preach:

  1. My attic has R-50 all-borate cellulose insulation.
  2. My crawlspace is completely encapsulated, with closed-cell foam sprayed on the foundation walls to seal and insulate my crawlspace.
    a. My HVAC is in my sealed & insulated crawlspace.
    b. I also have an Aprilaire dehumidifier located in my crawlspace.
  3. My old 1976 era, single pane, double sash windows have been replaced with high-efficient, Pella thermopane units.
  4. My HVAC is ultra efficient and effective.

My house is tight, and it’s insulated very well.

My heating and cooling bills are very reasonable.

Is there a downside?

If you are me, there is.

That Stuffy Feeling…

And here it is:

We get a stuffy feeling. Not all the time, and not every day.

Rarely during the day.

The stuffy feeling primarily happens at night.

You who know me, know I’m 64 years old. And at this age,I have to take a bathroom break during the night.

That Wet Feeling! (Not what you think)

And almost every night, when I wake up – my T-shirt is wet around the neck. I’ve been sweating while I sleep.

So I change into a dry shirt, before hopping back in bed for that final 2 hours of rest.

But recently I’ve noticed that it’s “stuffy” in our bedroom, again. We sleep with the door open, so it shouldn’t feel stuffy, right?

So I’ve developed the habit of walking down the hall to the thermostat.

I know this isn’t very scientific, and may be a little embarrassing to say, being that I’m an experienced Home Performance Professional… but I’ll tell you anyway.

If You Could Only See Me!
I exhale 4 or 5 times on the thermostat, to fool it into turning on the AC for a few minutes. I cup my hands around the unit, and exhale. Five times.

It runs just long enough for me to get back in bed, with my dry shirt on, and knowing that I’ve got nice, cold airflow in my bedroom while I drift back to sleep.

And no more stuffy feeling!

Before we’d made these efficiency improvements, our AC ran-and-ran… so no stuffy feeling. And that may be what’s happening at your house.

But as you improve the air-tightness of your home, and upgrade the insulation – you may find (like I’ve experienced) that your AC doesn’t turn on as often as before. And it’s because your house is now more efficient – you aren’t exchanging the indoor air with the outside environment as often. I’m living in a YETI cooler!

This is called ACH, (Air Changes per Hour). The lower your ACH, the more likely you are to feel that your house is stuffy.

Can that stuffy feeling be remedied?

Sure. For a price.

But I’m content, for now, to put on a dry T-shirt, and exhale 5x on my thermostat.

That’s my hack for the “nighttime-stuffy-home-feeling”.

Tony Orlando and Dawn had a hit song, “Knock three times”. It told the story of a guy living one floor above a girl who played music in her apartment, and he would imagine her dancing one floor below him. He told her, “Knock three times on the ceiling if you love me… twice on the pipe, if the answer is no”.

I was roller skating to that hit song in the early 70s. And today, I sing those lyrics in my mind as I “exhale five times on the t-stat if you want cold air…”

Thanks for reading!
Bob Bird

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