Stack Effect: What it is and Why Every Albany Homeowner Should Know About it

stack effect NYMany homeowners in the Albany NY area have been curious about “stack effect” and what it means for their homes. It’s one of those terms that gets thrown around a lot in the home performance industry, yet many people find themselves in the dark about its actual meaning. Stack effect doesn’t have to be confusing, however, as it’s all about how air flows in and out of your home. What should not be overlooked, though, is how much of an impact stack effect can actually have on your home if you aren’t careful.

The first step towards dealing with issues related to airflow in your home is to gain a basic understanding of stack effect, and it’s less mystifying than you might think.

Stack Effect: How Does it Work?

In attempting to understand how stack effect works, it’s best to start with one basic concept: warm air rises, and cold air falls. Stack ventilation is where air is driven through the building by vertical pressure differences developed by thermal buoyancy. The warm air inside the building is less dense than cooler air outside and thus will try to escape from openings high up in the building envelope; cooler denser air will enter openings lower down. The process will continue if the air entering the building is continuously heated, typically by casual or solar gains.

In the summer, cool air escapes through the doors and ground level openings. In the winter, heat escapes through the roof and second or third floor openings. Thus, stack effect applies throughout every month of the year and can have a monumental effect on overall home performance.

The Root Cause

If you feel as if you’re experiencing issues related to stack effect in your own home, it’s time to look to what the root cause may be. More often than not, it has to do with leaks in your building envelope. Leaks allow outside air to flow into your home and conditioned air inside to leave, which means keeping the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer can be an exercise in futility. The key to reducing problems associated with stack effect is to look towards proper air sealing around windows, doors and other areas where air is likely to escape.

For many homeowners, air sealing is a mystery. Zerodraft is adept at handling even the most complicated issues related to air sealing and insulation, and we can help to improve home performance for your home. Contact us today to learn more and to schedule an appointment.

Categories Blog