Tri-CAP’s energy advisor program seeks to improve your homes heating and electrical burden. With a little information, you can look for some of the same signs that an energy advisor looks for. In only about five minutes, you can make many valuable observations.
First, be advised that the two biggest enemies of your home are water leakage and air leakage. I am going to list some very obvious signs of these problems. Picture your home like a winter jacket. Does it keep the water/snow out? Does it keep the cold air out? Does it keep the warm air inside? If you are cold or wet, your jacket, or your home, is not efficient and improvements can be made.
Go outside and stand in your front yard. Does the yard slope away from the structure? If not, water can pool next to your home and end up in the walls or basement. Does the home have gutters and downspouts? Same problem if missing. What condition are the roofing; siding; windows and doors? If any are in poor condition, water and air leakage will follow. Is there frost on the bottom of the windows? If yes, you have too much relative humidity in the living space (above 40%) which will cause extreme air quality issues and even mold in your home. Is there an uneven snow-melt pattern on your roof, or icicles at the eaves? Then you have hot air leaking from your living space into your attic. Can you see the stud framing lines or nail head pattern through your siding (shows up as frost lines or frost spots)? Then you have a bad or absent vapor barrier in your outside walls. The moisture is transferring through your walls, and can cause a multitude of problems (including health issues and high energy bills). What is the tree cover like around the home? Ideally pine trees should be planted to the North and West, and big leaf trees to the South and to the East. This shelters the home from winter winds and the hot summer sun. It also give you free solar heating in the winter. Are there heavy bushes next to the house? This traps water and makes for structural problems. Does the home have window shades or blinds? Using the blinds correctly traps the heat and keeps out the cold. Look at the chimney or vent pipes on the roof. Does the smoke or exhaust gas fall downhill from the chimney, or rise up into the sky? If it drops and rolls down the roof, the furnace, water heater or wood stove may be back-drafting. This may introduce harmful gasses into your living space, as well as costing you more money for heating. If you see problem signs in any of these examples, find out the reason why. Your family will be healthier and you won’t be wasting your hard earned income.
Next month we’ll give you some very simple tips to help you check out the conditions inside your home.
January energy tips: If you noticed some problems with your home, by doing the five-minute check-up listed above, call Tri-CAP. If you are income eligible, ask for an energy advisor home visit. There may be a number of programs that will help you achieve maximum efficiency for your heating and electrical burden.
Tri-CAP Blog January 2019
By: Stephen Bjorklund