Do You Even Know if You Need an Energy Assessment? Part 2

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017 by Joy Padgett

This is Part 2 in our series discussing reasons why you should have an energy analysis conducted on your home.

For the next couple of weeks (always on a Wednesday) we'll be discussing the issues indicating you should have a home comfort analysis conducted on your home. Last week we spoke about High Utility Bills. Today, we're going to be talking about Drafts.

When we’re inside our home, we should be comfortable in every room. But, for most of us, this just doesn’t ring true. It seems like everybody has a draft in the house and a room or two that just don’t stay cool like the rest of the rooms during the summer. For me, it was a bathroom and an office. Those 2 areas seemed to be so hot in the summer! And yet, so many people simply live with it.  I know I did for a couple of years. Maybe they think there’s nothing that can be done. But they are so wrong. And so was I.

Drafts can come from many different areas of the home, but the easiest culprits for you to detect are probably the windows and entry doors. You don’t need any special tools for these. You can put your hand up to the trim around your windows and feel air coming in. Or maybe you can see daylight around your front door. If you can see daylight, there’s enough space there for hot air to get into your house during the summer. Fixing these may be something you can do on your own if you’re a Do-It-Yourselfer like I am. BUT, be aware that caulking around the windows and adding weather-stripping to your entry door normally won’t stop the drafts. Why? Well, because most of the time there are gaps and cracks elsewhere in your home that are contributing to the draftiness and once you seal up some of these, others will reveal themselves.

The origins of these “new” drafts may be more difficult to identify without some specialty tools. This is where having a Home Comfort Assessment (or Energy Assessment) conducted on your home comes into play. A service contractor, like the one I work for, can come into your home with some really cool equipment and find the sources of drafts that can’t simply be found by checking your windows and doors. Check out my blog from May 2017 about Blower Door Testing. The blower door is my favorite piece of equipment!

Blower door setup

When I went with my husband to do an assessment (yes, I am allowed out of the office from time to time!), we used the blower door to depressurize the house and make the drafts much more obvious. I followed an air current to a small hall closet and could feel air gushing out from under the door. I opened the door and found the closet had no ceiling. It was completely open to the attic! This woman had been living in the home for decades and had no idea there was no ceiling in the very small closet. The homeowner was both fascinated and shocked! Fascinated with how she could feel the air current and shocked to know how leaky her very well maintained house was!

Other specialty tools like infrared cameras, smoke pencils, and micro manometers are also used to reveal sources of air infiltration, temperature issues and pressure differences. Since hot air is always moving toward cold air, heat from outside your house is seeking ways to get into your nice, cool house during the summer. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want hot air getting into my house during the summer. I’d like to think of my house as capable of giving me respite from the heat and humidity of Central Kentucky. This occurrence can cause your HVAC system to run more often and for longer periods of time than it should. That translates into higher cooling costs and rooms that aren’t staying at the desired temperature.

A home energy evaluation will uncover these problems. A trained technician with the proper tools can show you where the drafts are originating from and then prescribe a plan of action. Furthermore, the company I work for can also fix the problems instead of just giving you a “Honey-Do” list and leaving you to find someone to do the work. Have you ever heard the idea that if you own a paint company, you’ll never be able to get your own house painted? Well, that’s true of companies that fix uncomfortable homes, too!  LOL!

I think we can all agree that we want to live in a home that is comfortable for us. We buy nice furniture and mattresses so we can be comfortable while we are spending time with our families or sleeping at night. We don't hesitate to throw out that old couch with the broken spring, but when it comes to our actual house, we shrug our shoulders as if there's nothing we can do about it.

Lovely couple relaxing on sofa

Don't believe that lie! Your house should be comfortable, too! Stop living in a home that is not performing up to your expectations. It can be fixed!

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