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From a Certified Pro
Certified Energy Auditor
Residential Comfort & Energy Efficiency
Sunday, June 05 2022
You Don't Know What You Don't Know So You Must Learn
Everyone needs a professional in their life!
A few years ago I was going through a tough divorce. There were a lot of layers to the mess I was in and it was not until I sat down with a licensed psychologist that I was able to find the key to unlock the things that were holding me back from moving forward.
The first thing the doctor did was give me a personality test. I didn't need to study, I only needed to make sure I answered honestly.
At the next meeting the doctor immediately informed me that my test was valid and that we can derive personality traits from the results. We went through the graph and the stuff he was saying made a lot of sense.
I was able to go home that day and use what I had learned to make an immediate impact on my quality of life. It was empowering!
The lesson here is that I live inside my own head each and every day, much like we live inside our houses each and every day. Despite knowing myself inside and out - I needed a trained professional to help me with key insights to unlock the ways in which I could help myself.
Similarly, there are countless homeowners that have had eye opening experiences during a home energy audit. Doctors, government employees, nurses...all find the information fascinating and understandable.
It is a practical learning experience! When you can observe the problems first-hand, staring at you in plain sight, it can really make a lot of sense. I enjoy giving you all the keys to understanding ways to achieve better comfort in your home.
Most agree at the end of the energy audit that they are in a better position to make the right improvements that will help.
Basement air leakage discovery during a Maryland home energy audit.
Pre-Conceived Notions Need to be Squashed
You know it is the windows!
Replacement windows can bring along many benefits but it may surprise some to find out that saving energy is not at the top of the list.
Part marketing and part human psyche, the window takes the blame for a lot of things when it comes to comfort issues around a home.
One example is draftiness. Most people feeling drafts around their home on a cold day will go right to the window.
There is a problem with that method of investigation.
Windows are the coldest part of a wall assembly surface area. It is only one or two panes of glass after all.
Beautiful thermography image of a bow windows. Credit to Rob Hosken
So, when we go up to the window to investigate on a cold weather day surface radiates cold and as a result the interaction with the warm air inside causes the cold to drop because it is heavier. That is the reason people swear that they held a candle to the window and saw it flicker. But, the window is not leaking air.
The best part about a home energy audit is that the blower door test can validate whether the window is the issue (sometimes it actually is!) or if the drafts are originating in some other location like at the top of the basement foundation wall or perhaps through an open vent in a crawl space.
HVAC Mistakes - Would You Put a New Motor in a Leaky Boat?
Sealing holes around the house in the right spots!
A boat will sink whether it has an old motor or new shiny engine!
In order to move the needle in your house towards better comfort you must first understand all of the different places around your house that are connected to the outside.
I'd be willing to bet that if I did an audit at your home and we walked to the basement you would tell me the main place air is coming in is the old door or the old basement hopper windows. But, that is not the case and with a little "show & tell" you can gain a whole new perspective!
Another great example of a huge connection to the outside of the house is a basement furnace chimney. Most are completely unaware of the fact that there is a dedicated space inside a house with a basement furnace for the chimney to run up and out. Most times it is open to the attic.
In summer hot attic air gets into the chase (infiltration).
Gas furnaces, in theory, are only supposed to be costing you money in the winter. As a result of this major design flaw, they are costing many Maryland homeowners ALL YEAR LONG!
If you have natural gas at your home go to your basement and find your furnace and water heater. Chances are you will have a silver chimney (flue) running through the ceiling of the basement.
Go outside and look in the same general vicinity and check for the chimney stack on the roof.
The final step is to head up to the attic and see how it is connected at the attic floor. If it is not sealed then you know you have an issue.
A home energy audit can help you find the holes around your home, such as an open furnace chase, for targeted treatment.
A home energy audit can unlock incentives offered to Maryland residents through BGE and Pepco smart energy programs.
Check out how the energy audit helped this family that loved their home, but could not enjoy it during their first winter in Maryland
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Its not rocket science, but there is a science to it!
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Why is the room on the front of the house colder?
A home energy audit is the GPS of home improvements...
Turn by turn directions to better comfort & energy efficiency.
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