May 13, 2016

Follow along with our “Life as an Energy Auditor” blog series to learn all about the ins and outs of getting a home energy audit. Why should you consider having one done on your home? What is included in an energy audit? How much does it cost? See these questions and many more answered in this series. If you have any questions of your own that you would like answered, please send them to qkorzeniecki@bpi.org.

It is common practice during an energy audit to start with an interview of the people living in the home. This gives the homeowner the opportunity to describe their energy consumption patterns and desired improvements in comfort, health and safety. During this question and answer process both parties are able to meet one another and work together to ensure a detailed and decisive energy audit is completed.

It’s important to communicate any comfort issues to your auditor. In one example, homeowners explained to me that their son’s room was usually the coldest room in the winter and hottest in the summer. During the exterior inspection, I investigated, removing a section of vinyl siding at the overhang where the bedroom’s heat supply was. I found that the register wasn’t connected to the duct work and there was no insulation or sheathing protecting this area of the home. If this concern hadn’t been expressed in conversation I may not have discovered it so easily. 

This family’s contracted work scope included repairs to the disconnected supply duct. Insulation, air sealing, and proper exterior sheathing of the overhang were also installed. Upon completion, the son’s bedroom maintained comfortable temperatures all year round.

Another homeowner called for an energy audit because they had moisture forming on the interior surface of their windows during heating season. Several contractors had come to their home, but none had solved their problem. Inquiry during the interview revealed that the occupants often suffer from cold and flu symptoms during the heating season. The house had a damp crawlspace containing the furnace and its ductwork. Diagnostic testing proved that when the system’s fan was running, leaks in the ducts and floor forced damp air from the crawlspace into the home.

They decided to have air sealing and insulation of the ducts and the floor between the crawlspace installed in their home. After the improvements condensation stopped forming on the windows and they felt much more comfortable.

Talking with your energy auditor is an important first step in learning how a home performance company can best meet your needs to improve the comfort, safety, efficiency and durability of your home. When you spend time and money you want confidence that a company will deliver on their promise and assurance that things will work out as intended. 

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Jeremy O'Brien

Jeremy O'Brien joined the Building Performance Institute, Inc. team in 2009 and currently works as a Technical Relations Representative. Jeremy has worked in the home performance industry for 18 years and has had many roles such as energy auditor, air sealer, insulator and more. At BPI, his duties include completing quality assurance inspections, proctoring exams, assisting with exam and standards development and providing responses to technical questions on the BPI.org website.