March 21, 2016

In my first two articles, I’ve discussed some diagnostics and summarized the “house-as-a-system” and home performance concept. Before I get into more diagnostics and other industry specifics, let me address the heart of the entire equation: home performance contractors.

Since we have established that houses are complex and interact in ways you probably never thought about before, we can now harness this knowledge and bend it to our will. It allows us to stop the ice damming, make each room as comfortable as possible regardless of whether we are trying to heat or cool it, lower our water and fuel consumption and live in a heathier, safer home – this is what home performance contractors aim to help their customers do.

What makes home performance contractors different

Let’s start with the truth. No one is perfect; contractors included. No scenario to treat a house is straightforward. No one can tell you what you need to do to make your house better in any way described above without giving it a detailed physical. If you call a siding company or a window company and tell them your house is uncomfortable, your bills are high or simply that you want them to come over and see what will make your house more efficient, we both know what’s going to happen. The siding company is going to say you need to have your house sided, the window company is going to say you need new windows and so on. And that’s okay, if that’s all that you’re looking for.

However, home performance contractors, such as BPI GoldStar Contractors, are not interested in assumptions and they need anywhere from two to four hours in your home, depending on its size and complexity, to gather the necessary details to give you recommendations for improvement. Why do they need so long in your home? Because they take the following steps:

  1. Sit down with you and listen to your concerns and ask you questions about your home.
  2. Walk around the exterior of the home taking notes and measurements of what they see.
  3. Walk through every inch of the interior of the house visually inspecting insulation levels, window and door conditions, appliances, heating and cooling systems, exhaust fans, water consumption, ambient temperature differences, checking for bypasses and much more.
  4. Then they are going to run tests on the house – blower door testing, fuel leak, ambient carbon monoxide sampling, duct testing, ventilation, heating and cooling safety such as back drafting and carbon monoxide levels inside the system, heating/cooling system efficiency and more.
  5. Only after all of this will they put the data together, offer solutions, and substantiate these recommended solutions with diagnostic and visual indicators. They then offer you a package of services that are tuned and directed specifically to your house.

Home performance contractors invest a lot of time and money in training, certifications and test equipment for the sole purpose of making your house better by finding out exactly what it needs – not to just sell you random services.

You wouldn’t want a drive-by diagnosis from your doctor or your mechanic. Do not accept one for the place you call home. Insist on the best contractors. Insist on home performance.

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Matt Anderson

Matt’s background is in residential, commercial, and industrial construction. He worked at BPI for over 15 years and has provided home performance analyses on numerous residential projects.