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Questions Answered Home Energy Air Leaks

18 July 2011 160 views One Comment

Ken asks…

What is a good name for an home energy audit company?

I am thinking of starting a business where I would help people save on utilities by testing their home for air leaks, insulation problems etc. I think a catchy name for the business would be helpful. Thanks!

David Andersen answers:

Energy Misers

Energy Savings and More

Energy Cost Containment

Energy Cost Slashers

Energy Cost Minimizers

Complete Home Energy Audit Professionals (CHEAP)

Home Energy Reduction Specialists

Mandy asks…

What’s my better home energy savings investment, windows or insulation?

I own a very nice house but it is old – built in about the 30′s. It does not have insulation in the exterior walls so the house has trouble holding our AC in the summer and our heat in the winter. The windows, although newer at some point, also need replacing as they “leak” air due to their age and due to the worn-out trim and caulking that need to be replaced.

If all else is equal and I have only X dollars to spend on my next home improvement project and both projects cost the same, should I do the insulation first with my money or do the windows?? Which upgrade gives me the better energy improvement for the investment?

David Andersen answers:

In all the rebuilds and remodels that I have seen insulation is by far the best buy at least for payback as the energy savings alone will pay for the insulation in probably 3-5 years which is a good payback. Doors and windows are a considerably longer payback because of cost and savings related to them. If you have leaks around the doors and windows it would probably be a better investment to seal the leaks with caulk and insulate.

Caroline asks…

What should a builder do when air leak in new home?

Our home is between 1-2 years, still under warranty.

We have a central heating system. Is that normal to have a temperature difference of 10 degree F within the same room? What about different rooms in the home?

We use all energy star appliances and lightings and our usage efficiency is only 65%. What is the norm?

We notice air leak through windows, doors and fireplace (no chimney).

We can use flame,string to check the air movement, but would like to know about the correct tools builder should to check the leak.

Our home is sitting on concrete raft foundation. Would there be possible air leak between wall and floor? How to check?

David Andersen answers:

First – Notify the builder of the problems in WRITING. Send the letter certified mail with a return receipt showing he got it.The US Post Office can tell you how to do this and do it for you. Make sure you have his correct address.
If he/she doesn’t respond- Call your local Electric Utility and see if they have a free energy audit program. They have a special company come out and run an energy loss audit on your home. If it’s not available try a local insulation company- these are the companies homebuilders use to insulate new houses for them. The larger ones usually have thermal scan instruments that show heat loss areas. Make sure you document all the reports and findings you get.Also ask if this Insulation company does business with your homebuilder- if so I would go to another company to avoid any conflict of Interest- maybe another close county. If you still have no one to help you. Look in the phone book for company that does energy audits for a fee. Don’t contact the company that put in your heating system-you might be giving them info to put your builder on the defensive if they are business buddies.
If you still do not get any results, contact a local attorney. This will cost you some money, but your energy bills are going to keep remaining high forever if you don’t. If you are in a subdivision ask other homeowners who live in a home this same builder built- if they have problems. Some so called home builders do all the sub work themselves, such as wiring,heat/air,plumbing,etc. They know just enough to put these systems in, but they aren’t sized or properly installed. You could also see if your builder is a member of NAHB, national association of homebuilders, if he/she is, contact their board about this builder. They have certain codes of conduct on how they handle complaints from homebuyers.
Good Luck.

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