I've had a Quick Home Energy Checkup done on my home by my utility. Am I eligible for the rebate program?
No. You cannot get rebates without first getting a comprehensive, diagnostic energy audit performed on your home. While the Quick Home Energy Checkup is a simple walk-through of your home, a comprehensive energy audit takes a few hours and involves the auditor performing diagnostic tests on your home to evaluate the most cost-effective energy improvements.
What does a comprehensive home energy audit include?
The audit is the first step toward improving your home's energy efficiency and comfort, while reducing your utility bills. Rather than focus on a single component of your home, such as single-paned windows, Efficient Home will assess how improvements to your whole house can work together to make your home more comfortable and efficient. Efficient Home will test for air leakage using a blower door, and may do an infrared scan of your home. We will also conduct combustion-related tests, and will evaluate your home's insulation, heating and cooling systems, lighting, and appliances.
Why choose Efficient Home as my contractor?
To qualify for rebates, you MUST select a contractor from the Maryland Home Performance with ENERGY STAR participating contractor list. Efficient Home is a leading company on that list. Contractors on this list have certification from the Building Performance Institute (BPI), a leading developer of technical standards for home performance and weatherization retrofit work that are recognized across North America. BPI-certified contractors have been trained in assessing the energy efficiency of your home. Contractors on the list have also met insurance, licensing, and good business practice requirements.
What Is Home Performance Contracting?
Home Performance Contracting is a new integrated method for analyzing a home’s issues and performing improvements. The Energy Star Program of the US Department of Energy is promoting this integrated approach to improve the energy efficiency in existing American homes. The many components of your home must be properly designed, installed, and maintained to perform their functions effectively and efficiently. Often contractors focus only on their own field of expertise, like HVAC or insulation, with little or no thought as to how the components interact. In contrast, home performance contractors, like us, take a whole-house approach that reveals the real issues and provides comprehensive improvement solutions. This cost-effective method saves the homeowner money while improving both the comfort and health in the home.
Don’t air leaks keep the indoor air fresh?
The “healthiest” air leaks are through windows and doors – fresh air washed by daylight. Typically, the large hidden air leaks we find and seal are from attics, concealed stud and floor joists, pipe and wire chases, and from under basement slabs – all dirty places. These leaks bring in dirty air, which is often tainted with allergens and other pollutants. Sealing these leaks makes a building MORE healthy.
What about bathroom and kitchen smells when the house gets airtight? Leaks help with those, right?
A leaky window in a kitchen or a bath does not necessarily mean the smells are exhausted out of the house. Leaky houses can actually build-up unique aromas over time. Then, many homeowners resort to a variety of chemically based air fresheners which in-turn decrease indoor air quality and compound the leaky house smells. The best solution is to air seal to reduce the air changes and then provide additional fresh air and remove stale air in a controlled manner. If air infiltration is successfully reduced, there are many effective options for upgrading and improving ventilation. Proper ventilation fans are quiet and sense activity to provide ventilation only as needed. They work particularly well in baths and kitchens.
When is a good time to have an Energy Audit?
Any time. Plan now for energy improvements and savings for the coming seasons. Our equipment is very sensitive; we can diagnose a building’s energy issues in any season.
How long does an Energy Audit take?
For homes, the audit usually takes about 3-4 hours. Commercial audits vary according to the size of the property, its complexity and the scope of work.
Do I need to be there during the audit?
Most property owners want to be there to learn a lot about your building and its systems. If you're pressed for time, your Building Analyst will only need your direct attention for about 30 minutes.
Can my children and pets be in the house during the audit?
Yes. The blower door test is a bit noisy, but not harmful in any way.
What are the most common problems in Mid-Atlantic area homes?
The most common problems are insulation deficiencies, air leakage and duct problems. All of these have low-cost, high-gain solutions, and a substantial portion of the cost of these improvements are subsidized by rebates.
What is a Blower Door Test?
We temporarily mount a calibrated, variable speed fan in a doorway to measure the relative tightness of the building and identify the major sources of air leakage. This test measures and identifies the air leaks that allow surprisingly large amounts of air to escape – air which you have already paid to heat or cool. In most buildings, hidden leaks around the chimneys, shafts, pipe chases and structural connections to attics and basements account for more loss of conditioned air than windows and doors. The Blower Door test enables us to calculate the air leakage and identify specific gaps, holes, seams and cracks that need to be sealed for improved energy performance. Air sealing is often the single most effective step you can take to stop energy loss and to start saving dollars.
What's an Infrared Camera Inspection?
A thermographic scanner is used to identify moisture issues, insulation voids and inconsistencies, and other thermal bypasses. By scanning your home or building with the IR camera, our auditors can quickly spot a variety of hidden problems, including missing insulation, cold or hot air pathways and moisture issues. The camera takes thermal images that clearly depict temperature differences between areas. Since the camera is highly sensitive and accurate, it provides valuable information in all seasons.
What is involved in Combustion Safety Testing?
A Combustion Analyzer and CO Monitor are used to test all combustion appliances in the home, including gas, propane or oil furnaces, boilers and water heaters and gas stoves. We test for high CO levels, gas leaks, efficiency, proper draft and combustion to ensure the safety of the building’s occupants. We alert you immediately to any health issues and refer you to qualified contractors who can solve the problems.