Here at the Chimney Balloon Tech Support line we often get calls that go far beyond the fireplace when is comes to home energy reduction. For this article we are are proud to host a Q&A with fellow energy blogger Mark Furst who is the owner of Grading Spaces in Ft Atkinson WI. Mark is an experienced BPI certified energy rater/auditor.
A: Cold rooms, mold, condensation, ice dams, odors, water intrusion. These are all symptoms of a house that's performing badly. Until recently, homes were being built without the knowledge of how interconnected it's systems are. Failure to think "system-wide" has led to a multitude of problems in houses ranging from inconvenient to destructive. General contractors generally hire individual sub-contractors to do various portions of a construction project, however these subs rarely co-ordinate their installations. Holes are cut, ducts are run, mechanicals are chosen based on price alone rather than suitability. On top of that, insulating is usually relegated to the bottom of the list as it's out of sight and not terribly sexy.
Nowadays, when building a new home, it's getting much easier to end up with a very efficient home for a negligible increase in cost over a "to code" home. Recent building codes have come up to meet consumer's expectations but builders are now taking pride in pushing past the codes and delivering better and better performing homes.
Existing homes often have performance problems built right into them. The age and style of the home has a lot to do with what types of problems the home may have, however occupant habits and activities also play a part. A comprehensive home performance test and analysis is the most reliable way you can get the information you need to improve your home's performance. In Wisconsin we have the support of Focus on Energy, a state agency tasked with helping home owners make informed energy upgrade decisions. Cash back rewards are available through their Home Performance with Energy Star program.