In December of 2013, our Dr. Energy Saver specialists visited a couple who lived in a condo complex in Southbury, CT. Mr. and Mrs. C. had previously had their home inspected through a state energy program and had several repairs made. Upon our complete inspection, we found several incorrect and incomplete repairs had been made to their home, resulting in the condo still being uncomfortable and not energy efficient.
Our Dr. Energy Saver specialists made several modifications to the home starting with air sealing. Insulation is not as effective until a home has been air sealed so during our energy evaluation, we determined the locations in the house where outside air was getting in and out. What most homeowners don’t know is that their house may have the equivalent of an open window’s worth of air leaking even when every window and door is shut tightly. Sealing air leaks that exist in ducts, around windows and doors, in walls and in attic floors will ensure that rooms that overheat in the summer stay cool and rooms that are cool and drafty in the winter remain warm.
We airsealed the chimney by using metal flashing and fireproof caulk, then wrapping it in rockwool. Rockwool has an excellent resistance to heat. This allows for cellulose insulation to be blown up against the chimney for insulation with no risk of fire hazards in chimneys that are functional.
Recessed can lights in the ceiling directly below the attic, in this case in the bathroom, can be a place where you can feel the effects of inadequate attic insulation. We installed can light covers that prevent attic air from moving into the living space below.
After installing the can light covers, we made sure that the bathroom had a proper ventilation system. Though ventilation may not be the first thing that comes to a homeowner’s mind when they are thinking about the efficiency of their HVAC system, its vital to the comfort of your home. Improper ventilation can cause your home to retain heat and moisture. We also made sure that the dryer was properly vented and that warm air was being directed all the way to the outside of the house. If this ventilation is not done properly, every time the dryer or bathroom fan is used, it will fill the area with warm, moist air.
Constant moisture in the air in an attic can cause mold to grow, so a mold treatment was applied to this home. Crews use a special machine designed for cleaning mold known as the mold fogger. Our Mold-X cleaner is added to the machine and a hose is attached. The machine produces a fog which is evenly distributed throughout the space and kills mold spores.
Crews also built an insulated storage deck so there is safe access to service the HVAC systems during future visits. This area can also be used for storage.
Next, we identified where air was leaking from the ducts, then sealed them using Tight and True Duct Encapsulation. Ducts in the attic were also insulated to prevent them for getting too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. Your ductwork system is how your home moves air throughout the house. But if you have leaky or inefficient ducts, your HVAC system has to work longer and harder to maintain the right temperature, which costs you money. According to the Department of Energy, the efficiency of many heating and air conditioning systems is only 60-75%!
Crews then used cellulose insulation to insulate the attic of the condo. Cellulose is often chosen to increase comfort and decrease utility bills for a few main reasons: it’s made from recycled newspaper; its resistant to fire, insects and mold; it’s R-value matches or exceeds fiberglass’; unlike fiberglass it can slow or stop air leaks that cause cold drafts; and its excellent for attics, walls and ceilings.
After insulating the attic, we installed a David Lewis hatch cover to properly seal the attic pull down stairs. The cover is air sealed and weather stripped to provide a tight covering after each use. Now air can’t travel between the attic and the conditioned living space anymore.
In the years since this family had their home energy makeover, they have seen a noticeable increase in not only the comfort of their home but their energy savings as well. Their average kilowatt usage before installing our products was 23,001 kWh. Since the installation, their usage has dropped to 18,889 kWh. That’s an 18% decrease in energy usage! The decrease in electricity usage has also lowered their energy bills. In four years, they saved $2900 in energy costs.
See the complete evaluation and installation process here: