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Anybody have an energy audit done on their house?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by michaelthomas, Nov 7, 2008.

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  1. michaelthomas

    michaelthomas New Member

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    Has anybody had an energy audit done on their house? If so was it worth it? Did you find it valuable? Do you think that it is a good business to be in? Anybody in the business? Just some questions from a discontented career guy:)

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  2. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    I've been thinking about it, but not sure if I really want to know whether I'd get a D- or an F.
  3. michaelthomas

    michaelthomas New Member

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    I think if I tightened up my house I could get the temp to cruise at 95 instead of 88 degrees in the dead of winter. The heat leaks help to melt the snow in the yard anyway:)
  4. DaveM195352

    DaveM195352 New Member

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    Belgrade, Maine
    I had a "quick" audit done in the spring. Just the blower door test and a 1 hour walk around.
    There was not enough temperture difference inside to outside for the infrared camera to be of much use - showing poor insulation areas and such.

    I found the audit VERY helpful. Showed there were some good investments to be made for energy savings. The auditor was great and very knowledgeable. The walk through and converstation were the most helpful.

    I to thought about getting into the business. The Maine State Housing authority as courses and gives certificates. The cost, however, is pretty substantial - about $10,000 for all the equipment needed and for me, I felt the learning curve in all the disiplines - HAVC, plumbing, electical, buidling sciences and etc was to much - that I would not bring enough knowledge to the table to be of benifit to the homeowner. It's pretty easy to do the audit - blower test, observe and document areas of energy loss and etc - but the real benifit to the customer is giving them ideas of how to remedy the problem.

    Dave from Maine
  5. d.n.f.

    d.n.f. New Member

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    I have had two done. One on the old Canadian system, and one just last year on the new system. Older system had much better rebates.
    Up here in Canada we get incentive money rebates for improvement. They test your house and 18 months later they come back. If you change insulation, add an EPA woodstove etc. you get cash back.
    So at least here you are better off doing nothing to your house and getting a crappy score. Then do all the changes so when they retest you get a better score and get some coin back.

    I figured that one out the second time round. First house I made all these improvements over the years and then had an audit done. I got very little back as there wasn't much to improve.

    The negative pressure test is cool cause you can find a bunch of leaks you didn't know you even had.
    Current Cdn audit only gives $30/energy star window/door changed. They figure you get the lowest bang on these changes. Maybe going from an R1 window to R3ish? Put some insulation in your basement and you get $500.
  6. oconnor

    oconnor Minister of Fire

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    DNF - your numbers don't match what my numbers for rebates here in NS get me - $2000 (1000 federal, 1000 provincial)for insulating the basement up to R24, 300 for ugrading my open fireplace to an EPA stove, etc.

    Had the audit done on my 75yo 2 story. Huge difference in heat quality now. - Definately worth it.

    I am really looking at the energy efficiency technologies trade (will be retireing from a govt job in 2 years). The Community College in NS offers a technologist program, and I am seriously looking at enrolling. It seems to be the bridge between engineers and the trades - engineers cost to much for the average builder to hire to watch the process, and many tradesfolks are so busy working that they can't keep up on the latest technology as it applies to buildings.
  7. Hansson

    Hansson Feeling the Heat

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    Here in Sweden they have make a crazy law that all homes that going for sale shall have an energy audit done.
    So the buyers can se how much energy the house needs.
  8. Wrigley

    Wrigley New Member

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    Had an energy audit done 2 years ago here in Western Massachusetts. Audit was free, sponsored by the local electric and gas utilities. The audit was very informative and made us eligible for a combination of free and utility company subsidized programs -- we blew insulation in on our ground floor for about a 1/3 the market price. The auditor gave us about $300 worth of a wide variety of CFL bulbs, too. Very low rate loans were also available for qualified improvements. Wish we'd know that when we upgrading our heating and hot water systems a couple of years before the audit. So -- take advantage of getting one done, especially if it's free!
  9. Buck1200

    Buck1200 Member

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    I recommend it to all my friends, particularly the ones who are about to blow all of their money buying new windows before they know what the true problems really are. I had a couple of them done while looking for contractors to insulate my place, and it was pretty clear that the air leaks come from the cellar (sills), the attic (elec, plumbing, and interior wall plates), and in the case of my balloon frame construction- the floor openings into the walls (empty).

    I also borrowed an IR camera to check on the insulation job after and was able to find some glaring holes which they had to come back and fix.

    The difference is astonishing so far (winter's not here yet). Even the rooms farthest away from the stove are remarkably warm, and since we have a furnace, there is no supplemental heat once the thermostat is satisfied... haven't run it yet and likely won't except when we're away.

    In case we're comparing numbers, my cfm50 rating is now 1400 (was 2000-ish).
  10. chad3

    chad3 Feeling the Heat

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    Southeast CT
    Friend had it done. Not only did they give him suggestions, but they left two cases of light bulbs with them. Some were the stupid recommendations (unplug the TV, and clocks (no sh*t). Some he had were pretty good. Not sure I would want much based on what the temps inside were last year. Sure some of us could get some better insulation, but when it is 80 in the house, do you want it up to 85-90?
    Keep lights off, use energy saving bulbs and burn your hearts content.
    Chad
  11. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    Generally the economics of doing an energy audit without someone subsidizing it is a losing proposition for the person doing the audit. The cost of equipment and the time required to do it properly is going to cost more than the typical homeowner is willing to pay. Most of the successful auditing programs are subsidized by a utility usually be raiding the "systems benefits charge" that is frequently tacked onto regulated utility bills to encourage conservation programs. Unfortunately a lot of the programs run in the states are done by contractors who bid to the utility and the lowest cost wins, encouraging short cuts. The alternative is for the utility to run it with their employees and frequently they just promote an emplyee and send them to training.

    Either way do a lot of research upfront to see if the economics line up for you.
  12. d.n.f.

    d.n.f. New Member

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    Sorry those were off the top of my head. We don't get the provincial out my way. I know I am right on the windows and doors though. $30. You can get up to 5kish in rebates if you did everything.
    I am not due for my retest till the spring so I still have a lot of work to do.
    Sorry if I caused any confusion.
  13. pdboilermaker

    pdboilermaker New Member

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    I get one performed on my house annually for free. I am a DUKE energy customer and they will do it for you IF you have an electric water heater OR have central air
  14. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    Curious is you still have the information available? I would be looking to do that to my house and also live in western ma area.

    Thanks
  15. DeePee

    DeePee Member

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    I had an audit done in the summer and it turned out to be quite valuable, outside of the requirement to have it done in order to take advantage of various rebates. The auditor found issues with sections of the attic insulation which I would not have caught by looking at it. I had some significant air leakage that I was able to address with expanding foam and caulk. I started with an EnergyStar rating of 68 and was able to increase that without significant outlay to 76. The upfront cost of the audit is significant, but in my case a subsidy cheque for 50% was turned around in a very reasonable period. The auditor generally will not be able to pinpoint hidden issues, having access to an IR camera is much better for that type of work. Cameras can be rented for a reasonable fee in my area, but I'm in a very urban area. Like others have said in the thread, its not always the windows - the auditor said older wooden windows aren't a big problem as long as they are caulked and painted. I think more issues are experienced with the older aluminum frames.

    Best regards,
    Daniel
  16. cleatus

    cleatus New Member

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    Also in Mass had a "utility company version" and although all the giveaways and availablities were valiant enough, the inspector had no IR cam nor was he anymore proficient at analysis than some kid walking down the road the other day, or so it seemed to me anyway.
    I was disapointed and saddened by the willingness of the sponsor (taxpayers!) to just toss money at this issue, I mean duh.
  17. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Had one done about a year ago, Utility Co. "freebie", nothing to write home about - the guy gave us a bunch of lightbulbs - but not that many since most of ours were already CFL's, and told me about the problems I knew I had already.... No blower door, No IR camera, just a walk through, and here's a stack of brochures (Dead tree versions of stuff I'd already found on the net for the most part)

    OTOH, I probably had studied more on this stuff than most of the customers, and had already done most of the available web form type surveys and so on, so I was a lot further up the learning curve than their target audience.

    Gooserider
  18. pdboilermaker

    pdboilermaker New Member

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    The Duke energy one is fairly good, no IR camera but good free stuff, also a good report at the end to help you determine payback for the suggestions. Additionally, they can and will do cheap testing, like the old vacum test of the house for $125
  19. cleatus

    cleatus New Member

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    seems my woodstove is doing a free vacuum test everytime I fire it up! Just got an actron pointer temp reader in the mail today so I can find exactly where the vacuum is drawing cold air into the house. It just warmed up the last couple day so I can take it on after turkey day. Oh btw Ive noticed almost zero wild turkeys in recent weeks, aside from the three swear to gawd, I saw today that looked like they were hiding!! near the side of the road. lol
  20. j00fek

    j00fek Feeling the Heat

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    i just had my others house audited, as i am going to be buying it next year. we knew that the first floor had to be redone from the outside, but after having a company sponsored audit last month we found out a bit more...

    i feel it was great from me as a buyer, and cemented my thoughts on what problems the house had.
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