Commonly called an Energy Test – The process of diagnosing and recommending improvements to reduce a home’s energy consumption. It is not a new idea, but the reasons to get your home tested are more pressing as concerns about energy costs, comfort, personal health and the environment loom larger than ever. There are many “Energy Audit” offers these days, even some of the “big box stores” offer them. Most of these are visual inspections with scripted recommendations. The better solution is a comprehensive Home Energy Efficiency Test (or H.E .E.T ) or a Comprehensive Home Energy Audit performed by trained, experienced experts using sophisticated testing equipment. The primary tool used is an infiltrometer, sometimes referred to as a blower door test.
You may ha
ve seen these on TV, on This Old House or HGTV or i
n magazines like Popular Science and National Geographic. Using the infiltrometer during H.E.E.T, we depressurize the house. Once the predetermined pressure is attained, we record the amount of airflow required to reach that pressure. This is how we quantify the home’s leakage. The more airflow it takes to attain
the predetermined pressure, the leakier the house.
So,now we know how tight the house is,now what? This is where the standard,generic or scripted responses, like you need new windows or more insulation, fall short. Because we measure and can physically see (using a smoke puffer) if there actually is leakage around windows.We can also determine if there is missing or inadequate insulation in walls or attics using an infrared thermal imaging camera. While the infiltrometer is still running, we use the smoke puffer and the infrared thermal imaging camera and a special tool, called a balometer, that measures airflow in cfm (cubic feet per minute) to measure for duct leakage. According to a Department of Energy report, duct repairs may be the most important energy improvement you can make. Typical duct systems lose 25-40% of the heating and cooling energy put out by the furnace, air conditioner or heat pump. Homes with ducts in protected areas, like basements, may lose somewhat less than this while other types of duct systems, like attic or kneewall systems, often lose more.
Most duct systems are original to the home. Some older houses have duct systems that date back to coal burners and gravity furnaces. Even if they are newer, they were probably engineered and installed by the lowest bidder the builder could find. Duct leakage is a primary concern. Ducts experience much higher pressure than house leaks. One square inch of duct leakage to the outside has approximately the same impact as 30 square inches of leakage around windows and doors.
Comprhensive Home Energy Audit
In addition to the steps taken in a Home Energy Efficiency Test a Home Energy Audit includes a comprehensive building analysis evaluation including building leakage, building safety and performance testing using accurate modeling software. To determine the most cost effective repairs, Savings to Investment ratio and other cost effective measurement tools.
This allows us to determine more than air leakage in the home, with combustion safety testing we can test for worst-case depressurization, flue gas spillage, draft pressure, pre-dilution carbon monoxide, burner steady state efficiency, and combustible gas leaks. We will also do an attic ventialtion assessment to determine energy loss in the attic. Attic ventilation is one of the most important factors affecting the long term health of a house.
We will check for Bulk moisture, which can lead to rotting wood, rusting metal, moldy surfaces, condensation on windows, peeling paint, and spalling (surface deterioration) masonry.
Duct leakage, air duct leakage
should be a concern to both the designer and the building owner because of its potential impact on initial construction costs, energy usage, and system performance.
We will also check for any zone pressure and combustion analysis issues in the home.
Call us today to schedule your Energy Audit or Test.