Thursday, June 10, 2010

Home Energy Audit and Home Performance with Energy Star

It has been a while since I've blogged. Sorry for anyone who may be following my adventures!

SO much has happened, I want to get it all down, but I will stick with one subject at a time.

I had a Home Energy Audit. It was depressing and exhilarating all at the same time.


Picture The Professor from Gilligan's Island crossed with Crocodile Dundee (yes, I have just aged myself - Google these people if you don't know who I am talking about). This Professor Dundee guy came dressed in camouflage. He wasn't a hunter or in the military - he just liked pockets. Lots and lots of pockets. He needed them to hold all his gadgets and gizmos.

Professor Dundee started in my attic, then worked his way down and all around my house, just like a home inspector - well a home inspector that crawled into some very tight and yucky places. He looked for obvious leaks and gaps in insulation, potential mold hazards and efficiency of the heating system.

Next came the gizmos (those are larger than gadgets in case you are wondering). The best gizmo is the blower door. This is a vinyl sheet that is taped securely around the front door opening, so securely that it is air-tight. In the middle of this blower door is a super powered fan and some various gauges. We closed all the windows and turned on the fan. It was amazing at how fast the air was sucked out of my house. I accidentally opened a door and had to physically fight it from slamming back shut.

Once there was a substantial difference in air pressure between in the inside and the outside, the gadgets came out. One took thermal pictures and actually showed streaks depicting airflow. I could see air rushing into the house from all the cracks and gaps. The worst single offender was the hatch to the attic.

There were humidometers, presurometers, and I think a warp core.

I found out that my boiler is 84% efficient (which totally sucks). I found out that I have NO insulation on the ground floor - again... sucking.

My dryer vent is more of a gaping hole of rodent invitation (sucky suckage).

There should be a few more holes in my house that don't exist... like vents in the bathroom. OK, that doesn't suck. It more blows, which is just as bad as sucking.

What did I find out????

It would be too expensive to insulate the basement. I wouldn't see the cost recovery for decades.

I should insulate between floors to at least capture the heat on the main floor, so only one floor will be heating the neighborhood.

I need to insulate the attic and build a fancy system to make the attic hatch airtight.

I should also put insulation around my hot water pipes.

If I get a rigid vent for my dryer, it will reduce fire hazard and increase my dryer's efficiency.

There is much, much more I found out, which is all in a dandy report.

Every little thing is itemized - how much it would cost, how much savings on my oil bill I should expect each year, and how long it will take to recover the cost (ie how long the improvement will take to pay for itself).

If I do everything recommended, it will cost me $3,214 and take 3 years and 9 months to start seeing a positive return on my investment (with today's oil prices).

Now for some EXCITING and ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL news!!!!

There is a program in many states that will help pay for these improvements!!!

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hm_improvement_hpwes

In my state, if I qualify and am selected, this program will give me $3 for every $1 I put into recommended energy improvements.

I went to my local electricity utility companies website and filled out a form. I found out that my house ranks pretty high on their suckometer. This program has run out of money before, and it gets re-funded every so often. I hope I get picked!


Wish me luck!

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