Begin Home Improvement With a Thorough Energy Evaluation

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Begin Home Improvement With a Thorough Energy Evaluation

home energy evaluationColumbia’s summer heat can really run up your cooling bills, and staying warm in winter isn’t cheap either. A number of home efficiency improvements can bring these bills down. By starting with a home energy evaluation, you’ll know exactly what improvements will benefit you most.

How a Home Energy Evaluation Helps You

Tips on improving home energy efficiency abound, but the ideas you find online aren’t specific to your home. For example, while sealing air leaks is often recommended, you may not need to invest time searching for leaks if your home is already airtight.

A home energy evaluation, often called a home energy audit, will pinpoint exactly where your home is wasting energy. Armed with this information, you can invest your money and time in the efficiency upgrades that will do the most good for your home’s individual needs. You stand to lower your energy bills by five to 30 percent.

The Evaluation Process

The home energy evaluation process begins with an interview. Your technician will ask you questions about your heating and cooling habits and about any problems you’re having, such as uneven temperatures, drafts or stuffy air. The technician will also want to see your utility bills for the past 12 months. Spikes and other unusual patterns in your electricity and fuel use can point to energy waste problems.

Then comes a visual inspection of your home. Through this alone, an experienced technician can spot certain problems such as larger air leaks, inefficient windows, and signs of excessively high or low humidity.

Precision Testing Gives You Valuable Data

Next, a number of tests will be performed using equipment designed to collect hard data about your home’s efficiency.

  • Assessing air leakage – Taken together, the little air leaks around your home can amount to the equivalent of leaving a window open constantly. Sealing leaks with caulk and weatherstripping as appropriate stops the waste and improves your indoor air quality by keeping more air contaminants out.To measure how much air your home is leaking, your technician will perform a blower door test. This involves setting up a large fan known as a blower door in an exterior door. The equipment causes negative air pressure in your home, making leakage easier to measure. To find specific leaks, the technician may use a device that produces a fine stream of harmless fog. The fog moves when exposed to an air leak.
  • Checking on the insulation – Insulation slows the movement of heat to maintain your indoor temperatures. It holds the summer heat back from your air conditioned home and, in winter, insulation holds in the heat from your furnace.While you could inspect the insulation in your attic and basement yourself, a technician brings the knowledge necessary to know exactly how much insulation is ideal for your home and to find less obvious problems, such as insulation interfering with ventilation.

    To check the level of the insulation in your walls and floors, your technician will use an infrared camera to take heat-sensitive images of the building. The colors in these images show where an excess amount of heat is being gained or lost, suggesting a lack of insulation. Adding loose-fill (blown-in) insulation to these areas makes it easy to solve this problem without tearing up your home’s surfaces.

  • Looking over your appliances – An old, inefficient furnace, water heater, refrigerator or other large appliance could be costing you in terms of energy waste. Old appliances are also prone to safety issues. Your technician will use equipment such as a manometer (pressure meter) and watt meter to test your appliances and make sure they’re operating efficiently and safely. The data collected during these tests will be processed using specialized software. You’ll then receive a list of recommended energy.efficiency improvements that’s tailored to your home and your needs.

Learn more about Cool Care’s home energy evaluation services, or contact us at (803) 772-7715 to schedule an appointment for your South Carolina home.

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