Home Energy Audits
A home energy audit can help determine where your house is losing energy - and how the home can be tightened up to make it more energy efficient. A professional technician - often called an energy auditor - can give your home a thorough inspection. The home energy auditor will do a room-by-room examination of the residence. The energy auditor will check for air leaks using the blower door test, examine insulation levels, and inspect the heating systems for combustion efficiency and safetly. The home energy auditor will put together a list of recommendations with estimated costs and projected savings estimates. According to the Department of Energy, completing the recommendations made during the home energy audit can help you save 5%-30% on your energy bills, as well as make your home more comfortable and increase the resale value.
J. Myers Builders, Inc. is a contractor for the Home Performance with Energy Star program, which is offered through local utility companies in New Hampshire. Enrollement in the program is determine by your homes square footage and annual fuel use. A certified energy auditor will look at your home from attic to basement and identify where energy efficiency improvements can be made. The Home Performance with Energy Star program offers an incentive of 50% up to $4,000 of the installed costs of the recommended energy efficiency improvements. Click HERE to learn more about the Home Performance with Energy Star program.
We also offer thermal imaging and advanced energy audits. Please contact us for pricing.
Video courtesty of Department of Energy website www.energy.gov
Energy auditors may use thermal imaging to find thermal defects and air leakage in building envelopes. Infrared scanning allows energy auditors to check the effectiveness of insulation in a building's construction. The resulting thermal images help auditors determine whether a building needs insulation and where in the building it should go.
Thermography measures surface temperatures by using infrared video and still cameras. These cameras see light that is in the heat spectrum. Images on the video record the temperature variations of the building's surfaces, ranging from red or orande for warm regions to blue or purple for cooler areas. The resulting images help the auditor determine whether insulation is needed. They also serve as a quality control tool, to ensure that insulation has been installed correctly.
Thermographic scans are also commonly used with a blower door test running. The blower door helps exaggerate air leaking through defects in the building shell. The most accurate thermographic images usually occur when there is a large temperature difference (at least 20°F [14°C]) between inside and outside air temperatures.
In addition to using thermography during an energy assessment, you should have a scan done before purchasing a house; even new houses can have defects in their thermal envelopes.
Blower Door Test
Professional energy auditors use blower door tests to help determine a home's air leakage. A blower door is a powerful fan that mounts into the frame of an exterior door. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed cracks and openings. This test determines the air infiltration rate of a building.
We use a calibrated door. This type of blower door has several gauges that measure the amount of air pulled out of the house by the fan. The data from a calibrated blower door allows the auditor to quantify the amount of air leakage and the effectiveness of any air-sealing job.
Take the following steps to prepare your home for a blower door test:
If you heat with wood, be sure all fires are completely out - not even coals - before the auditor arrives. Remove any ashes from open fireplaces.
Plan to do a walk-through of your home with the auditor. Be prepared to point out areas that you know are drafty or difficult to condition comfortably.
Expect the auditor to request access to all areas of your home including closets, built-in cabinets, attics, crawl spaces, and any unused rooms.
The auditor will need to close all exterior doors and windows, open all interior doors, and close any fireplace dampers, doors, and woodstove air inlets.
Expect the auditor to set controls on all atmospheric fossil fuel appliances to ensure that they do not fire during the test. The auditor should return them to the original position after the test.
Inspection of insulation
The thermal boundary of a building is considered to be its insulated surfaces adjacent to the unheated spaces. This is not always the exterior surfaces. The air barrier (or pressure boundary) is the continuous “envelope” that keeps the heated (or cooled) air from escaping to the outside, and vice versa. These two barriers need to be in alignment in order to perform correctly and efficiently.
During the audit, insulation levels and the thermal boundary of the home is inspected in the basement, attic, and exterior walls.
Health and Safety
Health and safety issues are an important part of a home energy audit. We test for carbon monoxide and make sure every home has a carbon monoxide detector. We test exhaust fans, and perform standard combustion efficiency tests on the heating units in the home. Typical health and safety related measures include adding mechanical ventilation to kitchens and bathrooms to manage moisture and other indoor pollutants, installing vapor barriers on dirt-floored basements or crawl spaces, and installing smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.
Our energy auditors are certified by the Building Performance Institute.
Information on this page is courtesty of U.S. Department of Energy: http://energy.gov/public-services/homes