Today, the question is not whether to boost energy efficiency in your home, it's how. Almost any house can benefit from a Home Performance Assessment to evaluate the amount of energy waste, track down comfort problems and identify potential safety/health risks. Focusing just on the energy loss component of the Home Performance Assessment (we will discuss the other aspects in future blog posts), a trained building analyst uses specialized equipment to identify the sources of energy loss and suggest options to remedy the situation.
In most cases, heating and cooling energy loss will be traced to air leakage, inadequate insulation and improper equipment maintenance, particularly the ductwork. Air leaks and insufficient insulation account for about 20% of energy loss while unmaintained ducts can lose another 20%.
The most immediate way to boost energy efficiency in your home comes from addressing these three areas:
Weatherstripped doors and windows and caulked cracks or gaps in walls make a home airtight. Often there are unintended thermal bypasses that allow leaks from indoors to the attic or directly outside. These are not always obvious, but can be uncovered using the diagnostic equipment utilized by an experienced home energy auditor. Heat energy is less likely to seep into the premises during summer and elevate your cooling load and utility bill. In winter, warm air won’t escape outdoors through these openings. An airtight home also maintains the air balance in rooms critical to efficient heating and cooling.
Insulation on the attic floor keeps the attic's heat from radiating down through your ceiling in summer. During winter, it helps contain furnace heat in living spaces. In the Cleveland area, the Department of Energy recommends minimum attic insulation with an R-value of 49. This translates to a depth of at least 15 inches for fiberglass batts and 13 inches for blown cellulose. The level of insulation inside wall cavities can be evaluated by the energy auditor using an infrared camera. In Cleveland, blown-in insulation inside walls should provide an R-value of 13.
Many homes have ductwork that leaks up to 20% or more of the air it is supposed to be delivering to the rooms. Conditioned air spills into attics, crawl spaces and other zones where it provides no benefit. An energy evaluation includes a duct pressure test to determine the degree of leakage and pinpoint leaks for permanent sealing.
P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling has served Cleveland and its suburbs with sales and service expertise since 1936. Ask us about a professional energy evaluation to boost energy efficiency in your home.
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.