Simple Savings: home energy savings

(Columbia) Jan. 24, 2003 - A recent government survey shows 95 percent of homes leak 35 percent of heating and cooling energy. For most people, a their energy dollars could be evaporating into thin air.

Loren Goldfarb's house, for example, has a 2.5 square foot hole, actually, lots of little holes, in it, which means he's throwing money right out the window, "Some rooms are warmer than others. I'm pretty confident that I'm losing air and could have a more energy efficient home."

Goldfarb found an energy audit company called N-Spects to get the heart of the problem. N-Spects' Lee O'Neal says, "We do home energy ratings for the Energy Star program. We also do building performance testing, which is what we're doing today on this home as an energy audit, finding out what is wrong with the house, why energy bills are high, where the air leaks are."

The process is involved. The energy auditors set up what's called a "computerized blower door diagnostic test." First, a powerful fan depressurizes the house, which creates the equivalent of a 20 mile-per-hour wind blowing against all sides of the home.

Then the energy auditors use a smoke pencil to detect energy leaks around doors, windows, ceiling fans - anyplace that allows air to leak in or out. O'Neal says, "This is the fan, and we got so much leakage - that means the air from the outside is coming in." They also use computers for the audit.

Goldfarb's audit cost $400. N-Spects estimates a qualified contractor will charge $3500 to $5000 to fix the leaks. Goldfarb says, "You know the question comes up, 'Is this worth the cost?' My feeling is it is more important to me to have rooms that are comfortable."

The sooner you close any gaps, the sooner you'll start saving money on those utility bills.

posted 6:00pm by Chris Rees