When I do Energy Audits on existing homes, one big complaint I get concerns windows. Especially in winter, people feel like the windows are leaking air. Now, there can be any number of issues regarding windows, but often, their causes are not due to faulty windows.
In fact, windows are a marvel of modern engineering. So oftentimes one’s discomfort is not caused by the window itself; rather, it’s the gaps between the window frame and the wood frame built to hold the window.
I can’t tell you how many homes I’ve done Energy Audits where the homeowner had already replaced the windows and still they felt uncomfortable due to air movement. Almost always, the window installers did not bother to air seal the gaps while they had the opportunity to do so. The blower door test confirms this fact.
The good news for new homes is that this oversight can be dealt with very easily and inexpensively. It simply takes sealing those gaps with some sort of air barrier. After the windows have been installed and before drywall goes up, we inspect homes to ensure that these gaps are filled. When we do the final test-out with the blower door, we are also ensuring that the house is tight enough to meet minimum energy code requirements. Read More
One motto of the high-performance home industry is, “Build it Tight, Ventilate Right.” The idea here is to minimize or eliminate uncontrolled air infiltration from undesirable locations, such as from attics, garages, crawlspaces, or through wall insulation. Read More
Then the homeowners suffocate from the heat, and pay extra money to their Heat and Air contractor only to be told everything’s working just fine, that it’s just a naturally hot room. Then the builders get a call-back: why’s this room so hot? So on the next house, the builder will have their Heat and Air folks put in a larger AC unit, hoping this will solve the problem. Or have the Bonus Room made into a separate zone. But it still never reaches the set temperature in high summer or deep winter. Another call-back. Read More
The joke is that Americans are known for a “bigger-is-better” philosophy, but does that apply to home heating and cooling equipment?
As it turns out, the answer is no, for three good reasons:
“As someone who is passionate about building quality, energy efficient homes, I am extremely pleased with the advice and feedback I was given by Home Energy Rx. They were always mindful of the economic sides of the options and provided me great direction. They will be an integral part of every project I do.” -Jimmy Rapert, Advanced Building & Home Services, Fayetteville, AR