Energy Audits and The Canadian Homeowner
We are Canadian and proud of it, even when the outside temperature dips below -30 C. Fortunately we have a warm haven at the end of the day that we call home. It’s where we live and raise our families in this often unruly climate. Still, it’s not all bad as spring to turns to summer and homeowners turn off their furnaces and switch on their air conditioners.
Over the years, our homes have become better insulated and built tighter, to conserve our demand for energy. With these improvements, we have also introduced mechanical ventilation in order to improve our indoor air quality to make our home environment more healthy and comfortable. A lot of home builders are incorporating more of a balanced approach to the types of building materials and mechanical systems that go into new residential construction. But what about those of us that want to fix up our older homes?
What to do, what to do???
Before undertaking any home renovations, it is important to understand that your home works best when it is allowed to operate as a balanced system. For example, you may want to increase your insulation levels, maybe replace some old windows or perhaps have a new, efficient furnace installed. While these upgrades certainly seem like a good idea, it is important to understand how the improvements will now interact with the rest of your home, so that your home is not now suddenly out of balance.
Did you know that in order to maintain healthy indoor air quality, the air in a home should be exchanged once every 3 hours? Not only does this help to provide you with fresh air but it also helps to maintain and control the humidity levels within the home. Some older homes may be very leaky and have plenty of air exchange or in a lot of cases……..too much! So as we start to tighten and improve our old home, it is important to understand how that will change the air flow as well. So what should we do first and then how do we know if it actually makes our homes happier and healthier?
Enter the Energy Audit.
If you have not had an energy audit performed on your home yet, you may want to definitely consider it before planning your upgrades. There are many advantages to first bringing in a skilled/trained advisor to test your home and prepare a computer model of your house as a system. Advisors are equipped with blower door kits that allow them to actually measure the leakage area of a home. They are then able to calculate if your home is getting enough air exchange before AND after your upgrades are installed. They are also able to enter all of the data concerning your home into a computer program, which can then perform multiple calculations of your homes performance based on a variety of conditions. This is especially helpful when you are trying to decide which upgrades would be most beneficial.
A no brainer
With all of the different options we have available to us, it just make sense to have a professional game plan set up before spending all of your hard earned cash on home improvements. A home energy advisor, licensed with Natural Resources Canada can usually be brought in for around $400 and depending on where you live, may also be able to qualify some or all of your upgrades for gov’t rebates. Even the original cost of calling in an advisor can be covered by a rebate. Professional advice, based on using the latest technology for in-home analysis and the possibility of receiving rebates to help pay for it…………..the only question left for the home owner is, who do I call?
You need to start by contacting a reputable and licensed Service Organization like Barrier Sciences Group. Their highly trained and licensed advisors are available across Ontario and can be scheduled for a home audit by calling toll free, 1-866-333-3920.
Steve Schroeder is a licensed Energy Advisor associated with Barrier and if you are in this area, call him directly at (226) 314 2012.