Two days ago two men equipped with a bunch of equipment and computer came to my home and did an audit. Unlike the IRS type of audit, this one can put money into your pocket. Four hours later they gave me a 14 page report, improvement recommendations with a budget and a ‘BTU per square foot per degree day' rating of 4.7. The lower is better and their goal is to achieve at least 5.0 for their customers.
They had infrared cameras, smoke sticks, fans to attach to the door and computers with great software to tell you what to do to increase energy efficiency and comfort. I was looking for cost savings and my wife for the comfort angle. Either way, knowing what to do to improve your home can be beneficial.
We found out that we have a pretty good home as it pertains to energy efficiency. We did find out the things to do to add comport and savings and will implement those before winter truly sets in.
The neatest thing was when they did the blower door test. They put a big fan over the front door, turned off all heating and cooling equipment to find where air leaks were. Using a smoke stick they could show me by the movement of a puff of smoke where the leaks were ands just how bad the air was leaking.
To my surprise my windows that I had considered changing due to my perceived belief that they had big air leaks, had little air coming in around the frames. Being nearly twenty years old the single pane windows that I thought needed replacing, in fact didn't leak like I thought.
We already added 15 SER / 95% Efficient HVAC equipment a year ago. Two years ago we added 12" of ceiling insulation and sealed off the pull down stairs with a 8" thick Styrofoam frame and door in the attic above the pull down unit. We had covered the attic fan and insulated on top of it.
What the audit found was we needed to glue down the attic stair Styrofoam and better seal the attic fan canopy. We need to seal the vents where they transition into the ceiling from the attic to deliver heated and cooled air to the upper story.
We found the gas heater and water heater in our basement do not put out carbon monoxide near allowable limits, which is good news. We do have a carbon monoxide detector just in case. When the water heater goes out we are going back with the tank less style.
The biggest issue is where part of the home is on crawl space. The rooms above the crawl space have always been cold in the winter and they discovered why. We have inadequate insulation on the floors and outside walls.
To remedy the known issues we are sealing and encapsulating the crawl space with closed cell high density foam insulation, gluing the hatch and resealing the fan. We are also sealing the duct work. If done by the end of the year the energy tax credit will apply and my local utility has rebates also.
Cumulatively all my work to save energy and be comfortable is paying off. By Thanksgiving the kitchen above he crawl space will be a warmer place to be and my utility bill will go down. This has been a three year project that has been great on my wallet and on my comfort.
Be sure to recommend to new and old clients to get an audit done and take the steps recommended. They have until December 31. 2010 to qualify for rebates. There is still time.