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Shocking Home Energy Audit Video - ProMaster Cincinnati

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Hi, it's Don Kennedy with ProMaster Home Repair and Handyman of Cincinnati. I'm so excited about today's video because I get a lot of questions from from viewers and folks who come to our website about energy efficiency and how to improve their home and make it more energy efficient. So today I've asked my friend Tim Courtier, who is the owner of ProEnergy Consultants, if we could tag along on a real home energy audit. So let me introduce you to my friend Tim and he's gonna tell you all about what we're gonna do. Hey Don. Thanks for having me, I appreciate you having us out here today First of all, tell me a little bit a lot of folks today are getting home energy audits so they can get a report to understand how they can improve their home and make it more energy efficient. So a lot of times, people will call the power company and the power company guy will come out Tell me how you're different and what you do. Well, we take a different approach than the power company does. When the power company comes out, their not gonna use the infrared camera, or put the house under a negative pressure to find where all the air leaks are as well. They're going to come out and tell you to buy energy star appliances and to put CFL light bulbs in and thats about it. We get a little bit deeper involved than that. Like I said, we do an infrared scan to where we can find any missing insulation or lack thereof. We do the negative pressure test to where we can see where there is any type of air infiltration in the home itself. We also test the duct work itself to make sure you're getting the proper amount of heat or air conditioning to those rooms. So we find out where you're losing energy and why and how you can make your home more comfortable. Well that makes a lot of sense because I get calls from folks all the time asking "should I spend this five or ten thousand dollars on new windows?". Or "this guy quoted me two grand for new insulation". Or "should I spend $12,000 on a new heating system?"/ So people are just throwing good money after bad in an attempt to make their home more efficient. You say they shouldn't do that without getting an energy audit first. Why is that? Get the energy audit first, our motto is "We don't guess". We find out where you're losing the energy and why. We also give you a detailed report of where you need to focus on investing your money to where you're going to get that return on investment. So then you could take that report and do that work yourself or hire a company like ours to come in and do that. Then we can actually focus their dollars towards where they're going to make the most impact. Okay, that makes sense. Now my next question is where are the tools? Let's talk about some of those. Maybe you can give us a tour of some of the equipment because we like tools in our business, we think that's cool. So show us some of the equipment you use and maybe we'll take a look at how you go about doing it. Okay Lets go! Alright, we're inside now where it's nice and warm. I've been watching Tim set-up and the first thing I noticed is this large, red contraption. Are we going camping, Tim? Well, what this is, is what we call a blower door. What we use this for is it puts the house under a negative pressure. Basically what that means is it's simulating a ten mph wind blowing constantly on all four walls of the home. That way we can see where there is any type of air leakage. Be it from the windows, the doors, basically the entire building itself. That tool that you're holding there is what's called a digital multimeter. What we use that for is once we're done doing our blower door test We can figure out the approximate size leakage that's in the home itself. We can tell you, in essence, how big of a hole is in your house. Cool. Very Cool! Let's crank it up! What we're doing now is using a thermal camera. This is actually showing us where you have that cold air coming in. The blue here is showing us the cold As I come forward here with my smoke pencil and shoot the smoke in here, you can see the smoke coming back at us. You can tell there is a lot of air from the outside coming in. Not only is it coming in through the flue itself as we come to the side here, you can see these gaps along the masonry and when I hit it with the smoke, you can see it shooting right back at us. Also, with our thermal camera you can see those temperature variations. They have 40 degree air coming in here, which is not a good thing. Another thing is, like this particular customer they just had new windows installed and a lot of times what you find is, people don't need new windows What I'm finding here is, They actually have a lot of air leakage around the windows themselves. When I shoot it with my infrared, I can see the cold air coming in. Then we use our smoke pencil to where you can see all that air is blowing that smoke away. This is a simple repair versus actually replacing the window itself. Just use a caulk to seal that on up and you're good to go. Tim is kind of like an investigator we've been watching him as he's been snooping around the house. He's using his infrared camera and found something really interesting with this window What's going on here? Again, this is a brand new window that they installed last year. What we found was air leakage underneath the window itself along the trim here. Again, all we need to do is lay a simple bead of caulk and it will take care of that air leak. So this is really an installation problem. All these times people spend so much money on new windows and they're not getting the performance of it Simply because a deficiency in the installation. Correct. When some companies install new windows, they neglect to seal around the window itself and around the trim here. Which more often than not is where you're going to get your air infiltration. So Tim, what about doors? Tell me what you're looking for here. Doors are a very important area to check for door leaks as well. As you can see on the thermal camera here. we have 33 degree air coming in underneath the door Then as I pan up, you can also see a lot of air coming in on the sides as well. Again, as I shoot it with my smoke pencil here you can see all the air coming in just blowing that smoke away here. Now, in this particular case, what we need to do is replace the weatherstripping around the door itself and also around the trim area, once again, just needs some simple caulk. Do that and you're good to go. That's a beautiful old hardwood door that we definitely don't want to replace Now we're in the basement, and one particular area that you really want to focus on is what's called the band joist or the rim joist. What we found here is, someone had insulated the band joist, but as I shoot with my camera here, there's actually low 30 degree temperature air coming in through that insulation. If you look up inside there, it's starting to actually blacken the insulation because it's basically acting like a filter at this point. So typically what we always recommend you have done instead of the insulation such as this, we recommend using the foam insulation where you're going to get an air barrier to stop that air leak as well as a thermal barrier at the same time. Here is a close up of what Tim is talking about. You can see the gaps that are between what's called the sill plate and the rim joist. Air is just flowing right in there. It doesn't matter if your home is new or old. In fact, when I moved into my place, new home about 3 or 4 years ago, I had to take some foam and seal up all of those gaps because the contractors aren't going to take time to do that. Now we are in the attic space which is a very important area and also a very neglected area. Which we can see here in this attic space. Now if you actually look down inside here you can see how the insulation itself is actually starting to blacken. Once again, they didn't install baffles so the insulation itself is covering up those soffit vents. Again, it's acting like a filter. So what we actually need to do here is install baffles to where it's going to open up to those soffit vents where it's going to get the proper air ventilation through here. We also need to add an additional amount of insulation in here. They've actually floored in here, so we a maximum of 6 inches of insulation in this attic space. In this area that we're in, you wanna be at around an R-49 value. We are going to need to add about 12-15 inches. Now as I'm scanning the ceiling here on the second story I'm finding a lot of areas of cold spots and it's getting down to the low 50's high 40 degree mark. Again, with that lack of insulation in the attic space, it's giving you all these cold spots Which again shows why we need to add that additional insulation to the attic space. Another thing we always want to check, especially on the second story with the attic space above, is any type of penetration that is going in to this attic space. We have a light here This one is good. It's sealed up. There is no air coming in through there. But that is a real common source for having that unfiltered cold air from the attic come in to the living space on the 2nd story in the bedroom. Again, we're on the second story, and as I'm scanning this closet space, I find there's a lot of cracks in the plaster here. As I shoot it with my thermal camera I'm getting some real cold temperatures now through there. We can actually feel this draft coming through this closet itself. What we need to do here is seal those cracks up to prevent all that air infiltration from coming into the living condition space. An added benefit of having a professional energy auditor conduct an energy audit versus maybe somebody from the power company, is that a gentleman like Tim has a lot more knowledge about appropriate residential construction techniques and can spot problems not only that effect the energy performance. but there could be other safety problems in your home. That actually happened while we were out at this home. We were down in the basement, Tim spotted something that could actually be a serious safety concern that could actually kill the occupants of the home. Tim, why dont you explain what you found? Well, what we found here Don while I was looking around the chimney for this gas water heater it obviously uses combustible gas. You have to vent those gases out of the home and like you said, this is a serious safety issue. It can cause serious illness or even death. As you can see here, this pipe is actually disconnected from the water heater itself. Now they have those harmful carbon monoxide gases actually inside the home itself. Now, this family did not have a carbon monoxide detector. I would hate to have seen, almost don't want to know but if you don't have a carbon monoxide detector, please go out and buy one. I have one on every floor of my house. It would tell you if something like this was occurring and spewing carbon monoxide into your air. Well, Tim, we started here at the front door, we are now done back at the front door. Give us an overview of what we did here today. Well, basically what we do from here is after I take all my findings withing a 48 hour period I actually build my customers a prioritized action plan. What that action plan is, is what we recommend to improve their home to make it more energy efficient and show where they're gonna save the most money. Like I was telling you with my mulitmeter, I can actually with the findings that I have, in essence tell you how big of a "hole" you have in your home. How much air infiltration is coming into your home and how we can improve that. That's all in the report for the customer. Any customer, if they need someone like you we make those recommendations. A lot of the things we find, as you've seen are simple things customers can do themselves to improve their home. Make it more energy efficient without having to spend that extra money to have that taken care of. Great, I look forward to the report! Thank you so much for letting us tag along. It was certainly a learning experience for me and I hope you at home enjoyed this and learned something from it. Thanks for watching! If you need to reach Tim to have a home energy audit done, call Tim at 513-474-0010 or [email protected] As always, if you need help with a home repair or remodeling project, reach us in the Cincinnati area at 513-724-0539 or at and as always we'd love to be your friend on facebook keyword "ProMaster Craftsmen". Happy Remodeling!

Video Details

Duration: 13 minutes and 12 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Mark Evans
Director: Mark Evans
Views: 132
Posted by: handymancincy on Jan 14, 2011

A home energy efficiency audit is a great way to learn where your home is losing energy and what you can do about it.

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