In this week’s edition of Household Energy Audits, we visited a charming residence and were able to provide helpful improvements to another local homeowner. Cindy’s home had comfortable rooms for her grandchildren, pleasant furnishings and a spacious back yard. In contrast to most homeowners, Cindy had already implemented energy-saving measures such as thermostat control, timed showers, and line-dry laundry. However, she still complained of drafts coming from door frames and window areas, and energy bills that went through the roof. Using our Blower-Door tester, we were able to pinpoint many of the leaks and seal them with either caulk or expanding foam. In addition, the larger frame-door gaps in the front and back doors were remedied by installing rubber weather strips. While the stuffed animals lining the doors were cute, an even cuter presence will be the added warmth her whole family will get from the new door seal! Cindy mentioned that she consistantly had to cut her hot water with cold, an issue we were able to meet by simple turning her central water heater down by about 10 degrees. On the issue of water usage, Cindy was already quite adept. However, we were able to augment her thriftiness by installing low-flow shower heads and sink nozzles. These provide adequate pressure for functionality and comfort, while noticeably reducing overall water use.
Since Cindy’s grandchildren are not always there, we suggested that she close heating vents in unused rooms. This is a simple step that can be done at home, usually even by those physically impaired. We were able to replace many of the home’s lightbulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL), which provide solid light coverage at a fraction of the energy cost.
For the long-term improvement of Cindy’s home, we suggested the installation of blow-in foam insulation in the attic space. While there was a large amount of family items stored in the attic, Cindy expressed a longstanding desire to have these items removed or placed elsewhere. Blow-in insulation is perfect for attic space that is already difficult to access (therefore only presenting heat inefficiency), and can drastically reduce monthly energy bills. By the time we had finished, Cindy was in high spirits, eager to implement more energy-saving tips for her own home, and to spread the good news to her friends in the community. Another home improved, providing comfort and education to our valued local citizens!