January 30, 2012

Winter is coming, or is already here- is your house ready? How do you save money on heating costs?

You've got to own your heat. Simple as that. You've paid for all that warm air already, so it doesn't make much sense to waste it now.

A simple enough premise - it's the application that gets complicated. We (and most building science experts) strongly recommend air sealing and insulation as high priority measures to make your home use less energy, make you more comfortable, and make the planet happy.

Air sealing can sometimes be done by a competent do-it-yourself-er, but insulation is trickier. It generally has to be done by a contractor, and for the most part can only be installed by getting inside walls that are now closed up. And unlike air sealing flaws, which you can often see just by scanning your basement walls, the quality of insulation in your house is, for the most part, difficult to assess. (Thankfully, the attic, which is the most critical spot for insulation, is the easiest to access).

This is an important point, because even if all insulation is created equal (a separate discussion), that doesn't necessarily mean that all insulation is equally well installed - which, in this case, may be just as important. Insulation only works when it's installed to specifications, and when it's in good shape. So even if there is insulation in your walls, even if you've seen it or paid for it or been told by your real estate agent that it's there, it may be sleeping on the job.

The best way to assess the quality of otherwise "invisible" insulation is a home energy audit from a qualified home energy auditor with an infrared scanner, which will reveal where there are problems with your insulation.

Another reason why a home energy audit is really a problem-solving exercise. After you have it done, you'll know where the issues are. Without it, your home might just remain an unsolved mystery... The Case of the Cold House and the Disappearing Dollars.

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Testimonials

John C., China

Communication with a commitment to customer satisfaction set Bo and his crew apart from the rest. As I sought contractor quotes for insulation I was shocked by those that never returned a call, EVER, or those who wanted to quote my work over the phone. Bo returned my call within a couple hours and set up an appointment to come and examine my project. My early indication that this company was different from the rest: The appointment was for 9:30am and Bo called at 9:10am to say his GPS was indicating he would not be there until 9:37am and he wanted to confirm he was on the way but would be a bit late. Bo took about an hour to look over my project, examine the construction, ask about the intended use, heat source and informed and educated me about several insulation options.