As part of a new blog series for 2011, we’ll be speaking each month with a home improvement professional. This month, we met with Phillip Bradrick from Energeyes, a home energy conservation company located in Raleigh, NC.
HSHQ: What is Energeyes?
PB: Energeyes is a locally owned energy conservation & home performance company founded to help home owners reduce utility cost while at the same time improving the comfort, air quality, and the durability of their dwellings.
HSHQ: What are the main things you look for or test during a Home Energy Audit?
PB: The first thing we look at when assessing a home is the building envelope. Using high tech tools like a blower door and infrared camera we can pinpoint air leaks in the building envelope and thermal insulation voids. In most homes air leaks are the highest priority improvements and proper insulation improvements are typically the next.
HSHQ: What do you find is the most common culprit for a home being energy inefficient?
PB: Because homes tend to settle and are affected by the wear and tear of being lived in, air leaks are the most common issue we address. The challenge is often knowing where those air leaks are. One of the most common spots for air leakage are leaks in the duct system. This has a very high impact on heating and cooling costs because you are losing conditioned air before it ever reaches your home.
HSHQ: What happens if you find a point of inefficiency? What can a homeowner do?
PB: For home owners the most important place to start is making your home tighter. Once you have had your home tested for air leaks and know where they are you can begin to seal them. This process requires using products like duct mastic/sealant, caulk, expandable foam, and weather stripping. The process starts in the attic where the insulation needs to be pulled back and each plumbing penetration, wiring hole, and the top of each of the wall assemblies must be sealed with expandable foam as well as sealing any access doors. Once that is done you can move into the living area of the house and begin using caulk to seal around un-caulked trim work, sealing can lights, plugs and light switches, around plumbing pipes and many other small holes in your building envelope. The last job is to descend into the crawlspace and pull back the insulation, sealing any holes in the sub floor. Sealing your home can have huge benefits in energy savings and comfort but care should be taken that sealing your home is not having any negative effects. If you have any gas fueled appliances there is the potential of unintentionally trapping carbon monoxide in your home which can be deadly. We recommend that proper testing is done with a blower door system so that you can have the peace of mind that you are saving money without any danger.
HSHQ: What role does routine home maintenance play in the energy efficiency of a home?
PB: Here are three routine maintenance projects that are very important but often neglected by home owners.
- Change your air filters monthly: This is a easy project to over look but a air filter that is clogged with dust will cause the blower on your HVAC system to work double time because it is having to suck harder to pull air through this filter.
- Have your HVAC system serviced at least annually: Your HVAC system is mechanical and breaks down over time. Servicing it on a regular basis will help it to run at its maximum performance not only saving you energy but making it last longer.
- Close your fireplace damper when it is not in use: This task is easy to forget, but leaving it open allows the chimney to do what it was created to do and that is draw air up and out of your home. An open flue can cost you hundreds of dollars per year by allowing air out 24/7
HQHS: How can customers reach you?
PB: We’re online at http://www.energeyesonline.com, and our local telephone number is 919-600-4973.