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TSTC students learn how houses leak air, causing AC units to work harder

Posted at 9:05 AM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 13:17:12-04

WACO, TX — Students at TSTC are learning how homes, that leak air, are causing warm air to come in. Due to the warm air, it makes your AC unit work harder.

Students in the residential building performance consulting class are learning how consumers can save money on their electric bill. They are using vacant homes from the 1950s to present day.

The students start by depressurizing the home and covering all open vents, that bring outside air in, with a plastic seal.

When everything is sealed, you can then find where the home is leaking air. It can come from underneath doors, window sills or even the walls.

"Air leaks most certainly are very common in homes because a lot of people like open floor plans nowadays, so that's a lot of incoming sun light, bright lights with huge windows," said John Rhodes, a student.

He used a heat gun to scan each wall in the room, when the gun showed a darker red it meant more heat. The most heat he saw came from the corners where two walls met.

"Probably the tape of the builders it wasn't pressed down hard enough or anything like that so it means there's air slowly getting through into the house," Rhodes said.

Where air leaks are, and how much there is, can affect just about everything in your AC unit.

"It's going to determine how efficiently your air conditioner can run so the amount of time how much cooling your going to have to do and how much you're losing," said Hugh Whitted, a professor at TSTC.

These TSTC students are learning real world job practices. Preparing these students for the future is a great feeling for Whitted.

"We're training the next generation of industry professionals," Whitted said.

Overall, they just hope to save money on your electric bill.

"Just by working on the air seal of a home you can easily cut the air condition portion of your electricity bill by half," Whitted said.