Home energy evaluations offer homeowners key insight into the performance of their home systems, namely, insulation and air-tightness. Just like a mechanic evaluates your vehicle’s performance, professional energy evaluations allow you to ramp up the mileage you get out of your home, and lower the amount you pay in energy costs.
The key to an effective energy evaluation lies in the tools professionals utilize. Tools like a blower door test and infrared imaging take the guesswork out of locating energy losses in the home. Here’s how they work:
- The blower door test – This device consists of a powerful, variable-speed fan, pressure gauges, a manometer and hoses to measure the airflow through the home. The device attaches to an exterior door in the home. The auditor turns on the fan, which draws air out of the home, effectively decreasing the air pressure. This action promotes air infiltration, drawing outside air that is at a higher pressure into the home through any leaks or cracks that exist. At this point, the auditor will work to locate leaks, using either an infrared camera (described below) or running a smoke pencil around commonly leaky areas.
- The infrared camera scan – This device takes a picture of the home or runs a video to locate the movement of air, heated or cooled. An infrared camera is more effective at locating energy loss when used in conjunction with the blower door test, which exaggerates leaks. The camera works in black and white, with white areas showing warmth, and black areas showing cool air. This test helps the auditor find not just leaks, but it also reveals areas of the home where insulation is lacking.
With the results of your energy evaluation in hand, work with your auditor to discuss possible solutions to energy losses in the home that will pay off in lower home energy consumption and higher monthly energy savings.