Well, the camera is starting to pay back in unexpected dividends.
So far, this week alone, I have done or booked 4 Energy Audit inspections (at $375 a piece).
I believe that this is a great new ancillary service and would highly recommend people advertise it.
I do them just like I would a regular home inspection, but put the emphesis on energy efficiency, insulation, attic ventilation and efficiencey upgrades (windows, doors, adding insulation, upgrading old appliances, furnaces, A/C compressors and watr heaters).
I thought, perhaps mistakenly, that an energy audity by IR was done while a traditional blower door rig was in operation? I had it stuck in my mind for some reason that the IR is just used to spot the infiltration that the blower door declares, along with anything else obvious by IR. Maybe, maybe not?
I was expecting to do alot of these last summer, but it was so mild that people weren’t really hurting, and I was so busy with inspections that I didn’t have time to market them. Have been developing my program and plan to roll it out in earnest this spring for this year.
Blower doors are primarily used for large, commercial inspections.
You would be surprised the amount of negative pressure you can get by turning on the dryer to air fluff and turning on all the kitchen and bathroom exaust fans (plus you can check them for proper exterior venting). I found a badly weatherstripped door and 3 windows that were not sealed properl, on Sunday, with just these.
If it is a big house, or a factory or warehouse or some such (usually over 2,500 SF), I will use a blower door, but it is usually not needed. Besides, with the weather we have been having, no one wants their door open for that long. :mrgreen:
The one, yesterday, was a guy who really wanted to get his house better insulated, but had mistakenly put in R 20 batt fiberglass, with pastic vapor barrier, in the underside of the roof (in the knee wall area). There was significant moisture in the roof decking (20 to 35% WE) and no soffit vents and no baffled. I hope we caught this in time so his roof won’t rot.
I have a B-Cam now, but only have used it maybe 3 or 4 times. Seems like a handy gadget, and I’m sort of a gadget guy. Naturally, I don’t do energy inspections or have any intentions of doing them. I was just wondering. Thanks again.
Just write my regular report, but with emphesis on energy things. Plus I do the normal safety stuff as well (gas leaks, CO, backdrafting water heaters, etc). I will be posting an example report on my web site (sample reports) soon. Check it out in about a week or so.
Did a consultation, last year. Client complained about the contractor meeing up a big remodel job.
Found that the windows leaked, but only sometimes.
Then I found that the installed the 3rd floor (single family house, used as apartments by different groups of the same family).
The contractor installed the Cat 4 furnace in the cloest of the 3rd floor bathroom, behind a louvered door (many no-nos, here). When the furnace was working (and sucking all that air from the house) the windows leaked. When it wasn’t working, everything looked OK.
It’s also surprising how windows can appear to leak, even when they are OK. You get cold air flowing down the window. You have to remember that even the best thermally insulated windows only have an R 3.8 rating (as opposed to and effective R 14 - 16 for exterior walls.).
Many people want all the windows they can get, but are very confused when they are so cold in the winter.
Tell them to install honeycomb blinds, which can have an R value of 8 or so.
Also, I see many rim and band joist problems, where they don’t seal them up. Under negitive pressure, you can see the whole joist bay on the 1st floor ceiling is cold. I have also been seeing water condensation on the ceilings, because people keep their humdifiers too high (50 - 60%) along with some instances of mold formation, right on the wall.
When you get into the building science (get a couple of books and really read up on it) it’s surpising what you will find.
Did you realize that a house dries out better (the building envelope) in the winter than the summer. After a few mild, wet winters around here, the mold issues get really bad.
Just like when after Oprah or Dateline NBC does and “expose” on mold, my calls for mold inspections goes way up.
Likewise, with the cold and with the cost of gas (most houses around here are heater with gas) and people get slammed with a big gas bill, they get real interested in “efficiency”. Also, I have a great supplier for those newer florescent bulbs and I hand out a couple during the inspection. I also put together a booklet for handout.
I’m not really in tune with the energy audit inspection biz. However, I’ve been under the impression that a blower door test is an important element in a full home energy audit. That’s why I haven’t been promoting them since the blower is $$.
Do you mean an energy audit like in www.natresnet.org . Blower doors, duct decompression equipment, certification??? Nah, you don’t wanna mess with the formalities and get to where you do audits for builders so they can get Government grants blah, blah, blah…
If one wants a quantitative inspection, with precise numbers and calculations and all that other stuff, like banks and the government require, don’t hire me. I get down and dirty (checking out crawlspaces and attic, actually crawling them) and can get a pretty good estimate of the effecive wall and ceiling R values (just because they put R 20 insulation into a 3.5 inch wall stud bay, doesn’t mean that they are getting R 20. Usually its less. And with R 13 fiberglass batt in a 3.5" wall stud bay, with brick veneer, with wooden siding (house wrap or not?) or “insulated” (yeah, sure) vinyl siding. WHat is the actual (when you take all these factors into effect) R value.
Did you know that brick veneer houses, with weep holes average about 3 R less than ones with weep sicks, for insulation from the cold, where as weep holes provide about 3 R better insulation from heat than weep wicks? Do you know why this is?
Really, guys, it pays to study up on this stuff.
“If it’s stupid, but it works, it ain’t stupid.”
Daddy Decker (My Dad) when he showed me how to use gum to seal an HVAC duct. Told me they did it all the time when he was working on the Stagg Field pile.
The NACHI Green Building Course covers a lot of the building science stuff. I have done some energy inspections for clients that don’t want the complete audit with blower doors, just an idea of where insulation is lacking, poor HVAC design, some just want to see how an IR cam works. All find me on the internet. I use Homeguage to do the report. I got one lined up for a moisture intrusion inspection once we get some liquid rain. The builder is pres. of the HOA and he can’t figure out where the water is getting in.