First a little background. I had contacted a "guy" who's small company (him) performed thermal imaging audits. $500 for my house! I couldn't imagine getting a return on that investment. So I bought a $100 dollar infrared remote temperature sensor and did my own audit.
As I become more home energy savvy I realized that air leaks, missing insulation etc were all interesting, but if you have a forced air furnace or AC, you really don't know how much you are losing every minute it's on through air leakage. It could be huge and you wouldn't know. So it was clear to me that having this tested was a primary need.
So I began contacting companies with that in mind that were on our electricity provider's list. Energy audits come in many forms but Oncor, our provider, has prerequisites for an audit. They include:
- Blower door test to find leaks with a smoke stick and test the overall tightness of the house.
- Duct Blaster test to determine the duct leakage.
- Thermal imaging to view all of the heat (or cold) spots in the home's envelope
- Test all the windows for low-e coating and note double or single pane
- Inspect attic insulation levels and venting
- Confuse homeowner with lots of gibberish
Now I would argue that I pretty much knew everything I learned from the audit except, my ducts leak like crazy. I'm losing over 37% of my expensive air out of my duct system! Ouch! But it also explains why I am an Energy Star zero.
Of course it also showed me in living color how bad those can lights are, and we did test a few areas around my fireplace that were leaking that I wasnt aware of.
So my last question to the auditor was...Is there a contractor out there who can do my whole list? His answer was no...up north there are plenty, but here in Texas we make energy, not save it! (That last part was mine.)
Bottom Line - My list in order of potential payback:
- Seal ducts
- Fix can lights
- Add Radiant Barrier in attic
- Rework attic insulation, (add some and redistribute)
- Seal around the fireplace