Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Different Kind of Audit

You might be wondering “just how energy efficient is my home?” There are, of course, many factors that go into answering a question like this. Luckily for homeowners there are professionals that focus their practices on answering just this type question. But you should be aware that the level of service and techniques used vary and the cost of the services will reflect this variety.

A “simple” heat loss analysis is usually conducted by reputable Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors as they design the HVAC system for your new addition. This method involves calculations incorporating factors such as the area and volume of space, foundation type, wall and ceiling or roof construction and insulation and window and exterior door construction.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are companies that specialize in providing Infrared Analysis of building envelopes. These companies come into your home and use infrared photography to illustrate the temperature differences in exterior wall constructions.

Perhaps one of the most useful services available is the relatively inexpensive Blower-Door Test. This test uses a large fan to pull air out of your house while a technician locates and measures leaks. Certified Energy Auditors will also test your heating and air conditioning ductwork for leaks and even inspect appliances, HVAC equipment and water heaters to analyze the cost effectiveness of replacement.

A quality analysis may combine all of these techniques and should produce a report that pinpoints and prioritizes specific problems, as well as, providing cost effective solutions. A relatively small investment of a few hundred dollars before you embark on an expensive window replacement program or insulation upgrade could pay huge dividends if you find the real culprits to your energy loss problems.

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