In our industry, we sometimes encounter friends, family, and potential customers in quite a fix because they hired someone who isn’t an expert in our field.
A friend sheepishly asked William to come take a look at the $6,000 insulation job she had a pest control company do. You read that right – a pest control company! They were in her crawlspace doing what they do and told her they observed her insulation falling down, which they could replace for her. They charged her 3x the standard cost and simply put in more batted insulation. We could’ve installed higher quality insulation for a lower price that would’ve created an air barrier between her home and crawlspace and lowered her energy bills. The real irony is that our insulation and air sealing would have kept pests out of her house! Before you let a pest control company insulate your home, let Responsible House fix your pest woes!
William went to complete an energy audit on a home that had already been air sealed not by Responsible House. Upon entering, he immediately smelled combustion. Whether it was perfect or imperfect (read: carbon monoxide) combustion he did not know. They had a gas log fireplace with no ventilation at all – very dangerous!! He advised them to turn off the gas supply until their house could be tested. Their attic had been conditioned and though their house was still leaky (from not having that air sealing tested and verified), it was tight enough to cause a potential health hazard because of combustion appliances they were operating. Sorry – this one’s not funny because it’s too scary.
A family friend and former customer contacted us because his new home’s roof was dripping. He thought he needed a roof repair. The previous owners had conditioned their attic without a building performance analyst, like ourselves, testing their home as a complete system. Part of their approach involved putting up a vapor barrier over the top of the insulation they put between the attic rafters. What they did was trap moisture between the roof deck and the vapor barrier – effectively creating a “rain forest” in their attic. They did not ventilate the attic at all, in other words, they did not condition the air, which allows moisture to be removed. The roof decking was covered in mold, and if the problem had continued undetected, they would have had to replace a rotted roof. As it was, they had to remove all that moldy insulation, professionally clean the moldy decking, and have a commercial dehumidifier take their moisture levels down to a more reasonable level and finally replace the insulation. The “joke” here is that a conditioned attic should increase the air quality and value of your home, but because it was not done properly, it increased air contaminants and decreased home value by creating a roofing issue!
A new homeowner bought an older home with an impressive solar array. This new homeowner called us in shock over his first winter heating bill. He thought – as most people would – solar panels = energy efficient home. It turned out that his solar panels were performing very well, but his house was not. Solar on the outside doesn’t mean efficient on the inside. His house was extremely leaky and the energy created by his panels was leaking out through the “usual suspects.” There was a recent magazine article that caught this owner’s eye that advised having an energy audit performed before buying a house so that the buyer knows how efficient/inefficient the house is. He showed us this article, saying he wished he had called us before buying. Solar energy can be wasted just as quickly as the energy from the utility companies.