by Todd A. Wagstaff, Comfort Services
Typical contractors have a tunnel-vision, "one-size-fits-all" mentality, blindly recommending the same product or service to each potential client. Heating and air conditioning contractors think all comfort and high utility bill problems can be resolved by newer, bigger equipment. Duct-cleaning companies promise that their service and a new air filter will magically solve dust and allergy problems. Window companies claim that all your problems will be solved by installing new windows.
Unfortunately, this simplistic approach routinely leads to dissatisfaction. Excess dust does not diminish. Uncomfortable rooms are still uncomfortable. Utility bills do not decrease. Musty odors or mold returns. This is not surprising, since every home is different and each needs a unique set of solutions.
In fact, any of the above options may contribute to a better quality indoor environment and improved energy performance, or they might add to your problems. Once properly examined and diagnosed, a solution can be developed that may include some of the services above and, perhaps, other options. The real focus should be to obtain a proper diagnosis of what is actually happening within the entire thermal envelope of the residence.
Professionally qualified home comfort and indoor air quality contractors have the ability to look at the whole house as an interactive system. They have the advanced training and testing instruments needed to perform diagnostic tests on mechanical equipment, duct systems and the house thermal envelope.