• How We Use Energy in Our Homes:
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Heating accounts for the biggest chunk of a typical utility bill. 55% is devoted to heating and cooling. Improvements that lower the heating and cooling loads and improve efficiency can have a dramatic effect on utility bills. (Source: 2007 Buildings Energy Data Book, Table 4.2.1, 2005 energy cost data.)

•Air leaks
As discussed in the Allergies, Asthma & Pollution section, air is constantly coming into your house. That also means hot air is constantly leaving your house, and taking your money with it! Through a phenomenon called the stack effect, air infiltrates through the cracks in the bottom of the house and leaves through the top floors and attic. According to the US Department of Energy “The potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home may range from 5% to 30% per year, and the home is generally much more comfortable afterward”.

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  • Insulation: Missing or Inadequate
Many houses, especially built before the 1970s have inadequate, faulty or no insulation at all. Using an IR thermal imaging camera we can determine exactly where the problems are located.
  • Attic Hatch
Attic hatches are one of the most common and biggest single problems for energy loss. They are usually very leaky and have absolutely no insulation.
  • Old and Inefficient Heating System or AC / Heat Pump
Old heating systems can be very inefficient compared with the 90-97% efficient systems currently on the market. See this article by the US DOE on their Energy Savers web site.
  • Leaky Ducts
The average duct system leaks 25-30%. If the ducts are located in an unconditioned attic or basement that means 25-30% of the energy going into heating or cooling that air is lost. Even if they are inside the conditioned space, such as in floors or walls, a significant amount is wasted and not reaching the intended room.
  • Inefficient Lighting & Appliances.
Incandescent lights are essentially space heaters that just happen to put out some light. Approximately 90% of the energy consumed is emitted as heat. Fluorescent and LED sources are up to 4 times more efficient.
  • Ice dams & icicles
Ice dams are caused by hot air escaping into the attic, heating the roof and melting snow. The water flows down the roof and when it hits the part of the roof extending beyond the outside walls the water freezes and forms a dam. Water can build up behind this dam and seep under the shingles and into the house. It can also spill over to create icicles. Icicles are a perfect indicator of energy loss through the roof.

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Cross section of roof with ice dam.

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Is this your house in the winter?