GREENSBORO, NC -- Nobody wants to be throwing money out the door. But listen to this - you probably are. The average house has a roughly 3x3 foot hole in it - when you add up all the cracks and gaps in your house where air is leaking. That adds up to about 25-percent more energy used - and billed to you.
So how can you plug up this hole and those cracks and gaps? The first step is to have a home energy assessment to see where your house wastes energy. It takes about 2 to 5 hours and works much like a doctor's visit.
First home energy assessor Gary Silverstein asks homeowner Earl Caldwell about problems with his house. Earl says, "In the summertime this front living room is the hottest room in the house. I have a draft coming out of the laundry room and a draft coming down out of the attic.
Now that Gary knows the house's symptoms of energy loss, he pulls out his doctor's bag. It includes a blower door system that literally pulls air through the house and a thermal camera that illuminates temperature differences.
- "You can see 102, 103 degrees where that hot air from the attic is coming in. We want to fix that problem."
- "A place we find consistently to be extremely leaky is the attic access. If you look over here you can see the air movement of the cobweb in the breeze."
- "This is a typical place where the brick façade of the fireplace meets the drywall. We're feeling a lot of air right here."
The test results sound bad. But Gary says they're really very typical. "We can make significant improvements and this draftiness can be cut down quite a bit," he said.
Earl was surprised though. "The draft that's coming between fireplace and the sheetrock wall - I never thought it would come through there. That was one of the last places. There's quite a few more drafts in here than I thought," he said.
Benefits of home energy assessments and energy upgrades can be of course saving money.
But experts say they can also make your home more comfortable, make it use less energy, and improve the air quality.
Home energy assessments will cost anywhere from $250 to $500. That depends on the square footage, number of levels, basement, and age of the home.