Home Energy Audits
Wondering how you can make your home easier on the environment, while simultaneously increasing comfort and lowering energy bills? Home energy efficiency services from Apperson Insulation and Home Energy Solutions can help you accomplish all of these goals and more.
By analyzing the house as a system and looking at the interrelationships between each of your home’s components — building envelope (insulation, windows, doors, air sealing), combustion equipment (boilers, furnaces, water heaters), etc. — we are able to identify the key sources of discomfort, indoor air quality, and energy waste in your home. We are then able to target the areas with the greatest return on investment, so you get the most value from your home improvement.
A full home energy assessment is a very useful tool. It will take one or two of our technicians about 2-3 hours at your home to gather the needed data. We will require access to every room including the attic and garage if it is attached.
The technicians will gather and inspect data regarding your heating and cooling system, hot water system and any other electric/gas appliances such as pool pumps and spa heaters. They will inspect your attic, walls, and crawlspace for insulation. They will also make a scale drawing of your home with all doors and windows noted and located. They will take photos to be included in the final report.
Insulation is one of the smartest, most cost effective ways you can upgrade your home to prevent energy waste. Insulation helps ensure your home’s interior conditions are most secure from the changes in weather and seasons. On average, more than 50% of a household’s yearly energy consumption is used on heating and air conditioning. The cost difference between a well insulated home and one that is poorly insulated can be significant.
Heating and Cooling
By analyzing your current heating and cooling systems, we can identify specific solutions to help you improve your comfort both physically and financially. Sometimes, improving your energy efficiency can be as easy as updating a thermostat or performing some general HVAC maintenance.
If you’re looking to upgrade, the systems being manufactured today are very efficient and consume less energy than systems which were built 10 to 15 years ago. On average, furnaces last 15 – 20 years; an air conditioning system will generally last 12 – 15 years, depending on the quality of the equipment and how well it has been maintained.
There are several ways to heat a home. Most commonly seen in our area of service are split systems. The furnace (either powered by electricity or gas) contains an air handler and is located inside the house, typically in a closet, garage or attic.
Other system types include packaged units (where the heating and cooling components are in the same physical metal box), wall furnaces, floor furnaces, or even freestanding systems that plug into an electrical outlet or use a fuel such as propane, diesel, kerosene, or wood.
Like heating, there are also different types of air conditioners. In a split system, the condenser is the part that is outside (usually on a patio or in the backyard). These split systems have a coil which is part of the furnace/air handler. The condenser and coil work together to cool the air. This air is then distributed by a fan located in the furnace, or via independent fans as part of a “mini split” system.
Alternatively, cooling can be accomplished via evaporative (or “swamp”) coolers or room air conditioners that go through a wall or window.
Most HVAC systems we find in modern homes are ducted systems – the hot or cold air goes through the “air handler” which is part of the furnace, and is then delivered to the rooms throughout the house.
Each room has a supply register, usually on the ceiling or the floor, which is how the air gets into the room. Then somewhere else in the house is a larger register known as the return. This is how the air gets back into the duct system in order to be heated or cooled again.
Duct Testing and Sealing
When your furnace or central air conditioner changes the temperature of the air and returns that air back out to each individual room of your home or business, the air travels through a series of pipes.
The journey begins at a big square box called a plenum and then enters a large duct called a trunk. This duct is usually the largest and can be 12-16” in diameter and carries a high volume of heated or cooled air to the farthest points of the structure. As it nears its objective, the ducts tend to get smaller so that when they finally reach their end, they may only be 6” in diameter. Most often, the ducts travel in unconditioned space, located in either the crawl space or the attic of the home. They, therefore, must be insulated and should be sealed against leakage, as any leaks will be allowing conditioned air to be wasted into the attic or under-floor areas.
Old, Outdated Windows
Almost all homes constructed prior to the late 1980’s or early 1990’s were installed with single pane windows. In our service area, the oldest windows we see are wood windows. The frame is made of wood and the panels that hold the glass are made of wood. Wood is a good choice for a window frame because it is a very poor conductor of heat and cold. Early windows were just a single piece of glass.
Effective and Efficient Dual Pane Windows
Modern window designs are dual pane with frames made from vinyl, fiberglass, and aluminum. New vinyl framed dual pane windows offer an energy efficient option at a reasonable cost. We offer a line of windows that are precisely designed for retrofit applications. They are made for the exact size of the existing opening and are installed directly over the old frames. When trimmed out with a special Z-Bar trim, they appear as if they were installed when the building was constructed. In most cases, this process is accomplished without requiring any drywall or siding repair, or even painting. The model we recommend is a Milgard Tuscany. It has a low U-factor as well as low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient and Visible Light Transference numbers that are impressive and meet all energy program guidelines. Their lifetime warranty makes them a better choice than wood. Check them out.
Household lighting options have steadily increased in efficiency over the last 14 years. Energy efficient lighting offers higher lumens per Watt. To increase energy efficiency and decrease household lighting costs, we recommend LED or CFL technology which can offer 60+ lumens per watt as opposed to traditional incandescent bulbs which only provide 13-14 lumens per watt.
Cut Your Warehouse Lighting Costs…
4’ T-12 bulbs use about 42 watts per bulb, including the ballast, while the newer T-8 lamps run at 32 watts. The latest TLED technology can provide the same amount of lumens while using only 15 watts. We recommend upgrading to TLED as they last 6-12 years.
Older commercial lighting technologies generate a significant amount of heat. The good news is we now have LED lamps that can substitute for all of these super bright lights. LED technology has advanced to the point that a 1000 watt metal halide bulb can be replaced with a 150w LED that still provides the same amount of usable light. This is a significant efficiency increase which will translate to savings over the 5-10 year lifespan of the bulb.
Air infiltration refers to the air that comes into your home from outside. Unless a building has a planned and regulated fresh air supply system, they all need some infiltration. We have a way to test and measure air infiltration. A blower door is used which pressurizes or depressurizes the building, a handheld computer can then determine how much air leakage a building has by how fast the fan must turn to keep the pressure at a steady rate. The test results are read in CFM50 or Cubic Feet per Minute while at a test pressure of 50 Pascal.