How a Maryland Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Audit Works
By Rob MinnickPublished On: May 1, 2014Categories: HVACComments Off on How a Maryland Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Audit Works
Have you noticed hot or cold rooms in your home or uneven heating and cooling? Have you experienced drafty areas? Does your home have a mold infestation or musty odor? What about window moisture or peeling paint? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you would benefit from a Maryland home energy audit.
Maryland home energy audits
If you are the “typical” homeowner in the Baltimore / Washington DC area, you spend an average of $2200 per year on natural gas and electricity for your home. However, most homes lose between 30-40% of that energy. As a result, you pay $660-$880 more per year for heating and cooling.
Minnick’s Healthy Home Energy Audit can put that money right back into your pocket. Plus, an energy audit is a low-cost way to find the source of your high utility bills. With the Maryland Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program, BGE and Pepco customers qualify for a special energy audit rate of just $100. In addition, Maryland utility customers qualify for up to $7500 in energy rebates for qualifying home improvements.
With Minnick’s Healthy Home Energy Audit, we focus on your entire home because your comfort depends on it. You achieve Whole-Home Comfort, by evaluating how all your systems work together. Everything from your air conditioner to your attic insulation, windows, roof, and more plays its part in the energy efficiency and comfort of your home. When one part of a system is failing or malfunctioning, the performance of everything else is impacted.
How an energy audit works
During an energy audit, Minnick’s trained and certified energy auditors test your home’s performance and detect areas of energy loss. Our comprehensive home performance audits have saved clients thousands of dollars on their energy bills while making their homes healthier, and more comfortable throughout the year. The tests performed in this audit include:
Blower Door Test
Exhaust vent testing
Combustion and Safety Testing
To prepare for your energy audit, collect the past year’s worth of energy bills. Also, compile a list of problem areas: drafty areas, hot or cold rooms, mold, etc.
The auditor will interview you to determine your specific concerns, and follow with a walk-through of your home.
Blower door test
The energy auditor will measure the amount of air being lost from your home by using a blower door. During this test, the auditor attaches a special door to an outside opening of your home. Typically, this is a doorway. The blower door acts like a large vacuum cleaner, pulling air out of the house. The inside air pressure will lower, and the higher outside pressure will force air in through unsealed cracks and openings. This procedure allows the auditor to accurately assess how much air is being lost from your home, and determine where the specific leaks are located.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your home’s overall efficiency lies in your attic. In fact, properly insulating your attic could save you as much as 20% on your bills.
Do you have enough attic insulation? During Minnick’s Healthy Home Energy Audit, we’ll visually inspect your insulation levels. So, what’s enough insulation? A simple eyeball test is all you need. Look across the floor joists. What do you see? If you can’t see the joists, you are probably fine. If your insulation is level with or below your floor joists, however, you could stand to add some more insulation. Fortunately, Minnick’s can handle your insulation needs as well.
The combustion safety test examines your home for gas leaks and raised levels of carbon monoxide (CO). This test ensures that all combustion appliances – water heater, boiler, furnace, and other gas appliances – are safe and efficient. It also checks that flue gases properly vent outside.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless, and deadly gas that can leak from furnaces, ovens, fireplaces, and space heaters when there is incomplete combustion. Because most appliances, car engines, and other gas-burning machines are not 100% efficient, the risk of incomplete combustion and CO accumulation is significant. If your appliances don’t vent properly, CO could buildup in your home.
Testing for CO and other gas leaks through the combustion safety test will protect you and your family from the harmful effects.
Benefits of a home energy audit
The auditor will tell you whether your exterior doors and windows are drafty, whether you are using the most efficient light bulbs, and whether your appliances are outdated and inefficient.
A professional Energy Audit will encompass all these things and many more, with the goal of building a prioritized list of items you should concentrate on in order to garner the very best energy savings for money spent. While some items will obviously have a bit longer payback period, such as installing energy-efficient windows, the majority of your list will likely contain fairly easy, inexpensive fixes.
After we have reviewed the data from the audit, your Minnick’s technician will meet with present suggestions to upgrade your home and improve performance. Minnick’s can increase the value of your home, reduce your energy bills, and make your home or business a comfortable, healthy environment.
Homes that have undergone improvements following a Minnick’s energy audit experience energy savings as high as 40%.
Upgrades and improvements following a Minnick’s energy audit help eliminate drafts and air pockets, improving comfort.
Improved ventilation and humidity control can also reduce your home’s potential for mold.
Upgrades can help reduce your home’s contribution to greenhouse gases.
Once you improve your comfort with the solutions identified in the energy audit, it’s time to maintain your comfort. Minnick’s is leading the country with innovative smart technology that monitors your HVAC system. Smart Maintenance prevents and predicts HVAC breakdowns and protects your comfort.
The HVAC technician installs custom sensors on your HVAC system, which monitors its performance monthly. Detailed reports show your home’s performance each month. With the steps outlined in the monthly reports, homeowners save up to 20-percent less energy.
Plus, get urgent HVAC alerts. This is convenient if you travel for work or vacation frequently or for extended periods of time. The Smart Maintenance system constantly monitors your home’s HVAC system. Take the worry out of HVAC ownership. Stay in the know even when you’re on the go with Smart Maintenance.