The home should be viewed as a system, which means if you change one thing or anything in the home, like a door, window or furnace, it could have an effect on the rest of the home.
The cheapest heat is proper insulation and airsealing. For existing homes this can make a large difference on the heating costs and the life of the building. If you are going to have a new home built or remodel an existing home, insulation should be part of the design thinking. On a new home, your best chance for the life of the home to insulate it is when you are building it! Opportunity is knocking!
Never buy a home, new or used, without having a blower door test done on the home. A blower door test and infrared camera will give you an idea on how the home will perform. You can also use this information to get some idea on how much it will cost to make it more energy efficient when talking to insulation contractors. It should also affect the price of the home. There can also be a safety concern! Home inspectors have virtually no knowledge of home performance. We have been working on many homes an inspector has been in and the homeowners had gotten no information about the various conditions in the home or were given “advice” that would cause problems in the home. If you have questions, CALL US!
It is only a matter of time before every home sold will have to be tested first. This is already the law in some municipalities. The 2012 national building code requires every new home to be tested.
Do not put more insulation in your attic without airsealing it first. It is very possible that you can hurt your home.
When it has been cold for a few weeks, look into your attic. If you see frost on the roof deck you have a problem, usually warm air leakage.
Changing things in the envelope of your home can affect other things in your home. By putting in a new door or window or sealing something up it can possibly trap carbon monoxide from your water heater or furnace from exiting the home. This can also affect indoor air quality.
To reduce your electric bill you can change out light bulbs, but for reducing your heating bill airsealing and insulation are the first steps.
If you have a crawlspace under your home with bare ground in it, you have an unhealthy home. Basement and crawlspace walls should have foam on the outside, this is a best practice.
Never put new siding on a home without making sure the wall is insulated and sealed properly. Putting a layer of rigid foam over the studs on the outside is one of the best things you can do for your home. Call for details.
Try to hire contractors that have knowledge outside of their field of work. The heating guy should know something about windows and insulation. When an insulator, for example, says all he does is insulation, what about indoor air quality or combustion safety? Is the furnace drafting properly, or did the added insulation cause a safety issue? Remember, the home is a system.
Hire only contractors who understand these things. The classes are out there, they just have to take them.
The Passive House performance standard is the toughest building code in the world. The EPA’s goal is by 2030, all new homes built should be zero energy homes. This means that any new home built now without following this standard, will be obsolete in less than 20 years in regards to energy usage. The easiest path to zero energy is the PH standard.
There are so many reasons to look at a Passive House as a new home, it is hard to list them all. Google PHIUS and PHAUS to find out more. PHAUS has a lot of videos and other information.
No one wants to spend a lot of money to heat or cool their home. There is NO cheaper heating or cooling than insulation and air sealing. Sealing up the home and having the right amount of insulation installed correctly will also make the home last longer. It will be more comfortable, and if done right, will be healthier to live in.
Too many people are putting in outdoor wood boilers. They are maybe okay if you are a logger and can readily get wood, but in the long run most people figure it out that they spend a lot of time and money for that heat. If you took that money the boiler costs and put it into air sealing and insulation, you wouldn’t need that boiler. You can get a lot done with the money that boiler costs, and you will also free up a lot of your own time.
If you are tired of being a victim of heating “shortages” and questionable pricing of petroleum heat, give us a call. It doesn’t matter what kind of heat you have really, wouldn’t you like to use less? Air sealing and insulation work in the summer too.