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With cold weather fast approaching, your furnace should be tuned up and ready to go. However, even after your heating contractor tunes up the furnace and installs clean filters, you can experience issues. This is especially true if your furnace is heating your home but you’re not feeling the heat.

Improper equipment installation can cause your home’s heating to decline in efficiency by up to 30%. But another cause for a decline in heating efficiency could very well be your own house. Common in multi-story homes, this heat-stealing problem is known as the “stack effect.”

What is stack effect?

The stack effect is most common in commercial buildings and large, multi-story warehouses. However, it can also affect two-story houses. The stack effect is, essentially, when the home acts as a chimney would by grabbing the warm air and hoisting it upward toward the highest ceiling until it leaves the home.

This effect typically happens when the outside temperature is significantly lower than the temperature inside the building because the cold air is more dense. Therefore, the air attempts to balance the density between the two areas. This can cause airflow in your home with an especially intense draft. The stack effect becomes a problem when your heating system loses its efficiency and your utility bill racks up in an attempt to keep the warm air in.

How can I stop stack effect from happening?

Stack effect happens because your home has a place at the highest point of the house where the warm air can escape. The best way to keep this from happening is through insulation. The most important area to insulate is the space between your top floor and your attic. Once the warm air reaches your attic, it’ll escape through the smallest of cracks or air ducts. Therefore, while it’s important to ensure you have proper insulation throughout your house, it’s the attic you need to pay the most attention to.

If you feel the heat is still escaping from your home after maintaining your insulation, it may be in your best interest to contact your home heating repair services or heating contractor. Your heating contractor will be able to professionally monitor the heat in your home and to figure out just what is causing your heating system’s lack of efficiency and where the insulation in your home may be faulty.

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