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The Home Energy Audit Experience

Posted: 4:48PM April 1st, 2011 | Comments

One week ago today I had my first ever Home Energy Audit for my first ever home! It was a very fun four hours - those of us in the Sustain Dane office are a mix of nerd and social butterfly.  My auditor arrived at 8:30 am with frost still on the ground and roof (remember that ice that so rudely attacked me  last week), allowing him to visually inspect the roof for any melt patches which indicate a problem area. And yes he found a patch, innocently located above our bathroom (turns out the fan is not venting properly).  

After learning about our concerns and doing a quick walkthrough the fun began. He conducted a blower door test (cool picture here), which allows a computer to assess how much your house leaks heat in the winter and ac in the summer. It calculates a number that represents how (non) airtight your house is. Think of adding up all the little leaks in your house and putting them together to create a hole in your wall that is one square foot, or two square feet, or six square feet...you get the idea. 

After we were given “our number” (turns out we are pretty average for a 60 year old home), he pulled out the infrared camera and we walked around to see where leaks and lack of insulation actually are (detailed notes and photos will be includes in the final report). We balanced out the gloom that accompanied how much work there will be with the fun of leaving red handprints on blue un-insulated walls.

Some blue spots were not surprises: around electrical outlets, around windows. But a giant blue spot on an interior wall in the kitchen?! I am not an engineer nor an architect, but I believed interior walls do not add to your hefty winter heating bill. Further inspection in the attic (by the auditor) confirmed his hunch that when the previous owner remodeled the kitchen the range was moved without closing the vent. Crazy? Yes! Fixable? Yes! Heating bill lower next year? Yes!

In another week we should receive our completed report that details in order of importance (ROI) all of the many actions that can be taken beyond the three I remember and described above.  We might even check out the new Green Madison Program to help pay for the work.

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