High Heating Costs

Holes and other energy loss can’t hide from us. These pictures show some of the areas where you can expect to find energy loss. A more comfortable, energy-efficient home, with lower heating costs, is one call away. We can fix that!

Responsible House is a building science expert with many years of general contracting experience. We can crush your high heating costs with professional air sealing and insulation services that stop energy loss and save you money! Our contracting experience allows us to take on complex projects that have construction components—jobs most insulation contractors can’t handle. With Responsible House, you get high-quality work done by true professionals who care about your home.

Air Infiltration

Cold feeling woman sitting on the couch wrapped in a blanket

​Every day you are paying to heat all of the air in the conditioned parts of your house (building envelope). Depending on the performance of your home, you m​Every day you are paying to heat all of the air in the conditioned parts of your house (building envelope). Depending on the performance of your home, you may be paying to do that every few hours. When we complete a blower door analysis one of the things we learn is how many air exchanges per hour your building envelope has with the outside air. How many hours does it take for the entire air volume of your home to escape and be replaced with cold, unconditioned air? Sadly, what we see on average is every 2 or 3 hours. When we build a house, the answer is once every 24 to 40 hours.​

How to Fix it

Thermal imaging camera showing heat loss in a room

​The conditioned air in your house, that you paid to heat up, is escaping through holes and gaps in your basement, attic, chimney, crawl spaces, and from leaky vents and ducts. Locating your leaks occurs during our 11-step home energy audit. Once we’ve located the problems through discussions with the homeowner, extensive examination of the structure of the home, and our diagnostic equipment, we complete a written analysis of your home’s performance. This includes solutions we offer and the price point for each step. You are then able to hire us to implement all the fixes at once or spread them out over time. Now your money is going towards increasing the value of your home and not to the utility companies!

Even if your ducts are perfectly sealed and not leaking any air, if they originate in an unconditioned space (a basement or attic that is not heated or cooled) that unconditioned air is cooling down the ducts, which cools down the air you just paid to heat up. Sometimes it is more efficient to heat more of your house so that your ducts are only in conditioned spaces. This is a strange solution where heating more space costs less.

Why It’s Not Your Windows

Open windows

It has been widely advertised that the problem is your windows and doors, but that is almost never the case. The trouble with windows is two-fold. First of all, the cost of replacement windows is so high that it is difficult to see a return on your investment. This is not the lowest-hanging fruit and is not where you can get the most bang for your buck. Secondly, even the most expensive, most insanely technical and energy efficient window out there is the equivalent of an R7. Let’s talk about R-value (called U-value for windows, an inverse of R, but that might be a bit too far down the rabbit hole); the simple answer is even the best windows will not perform significantly better than the ones you have. Ordinary windows are the equivalent of an R4.

R-value is a measure of resistance to heat flow a material has based on its makeup and thickness. The temperature of your air (heat) is trying to leave your house and it will do it through your walls, doors, and windows. The higher the R-value the more resistance the heat is meeting. We like to find the lowest hanging fruit—the holes in your home where there is no resistance and your money is just flying out the roof…or crawl space…or ducts…or chimney…or……

Tired of high heating costs? Responsible House can help! Call 540-942-2061 or contact us to learn more.

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Why it’s not your windows

There seems to be an assumption out there that your high heating bills and drafty house are caused by your windows and the solution is to…

Chimney inspection
Heat Loss Through Chimney
Dustin Howdyshell of Alliance Chimney Works, helped us resolve this client’s heat loss problems. Turns out there were two flues leading to the same fireplace! The client, not knowing there were two flues attached to the same fireplace, had been heating his home with an open damper and uncapped chimney. Heat was just going out his chimney. Our 11-step energy audit helped put a stop to this heat loss.
Energy Bill
High Energy Bills
Have you seen an increase in your energy bill? Comparing last year’s numbers to this year’s, can give you insight into possible heat loss. We can help you reduce that loss, so that next year’s numbers will be lower.
Ducts in attic
Inefficient Ductwork
Inefficient duct work that takes the air you pay to condition (heated or cooled) through an unconditioned space causing your system to have to work harder to heat or cool your home – costing you more money.
Infrared image of heat loss from duct in a home
Infrared Image of Heating Supply Duct
Winter infrared image of a heating supply duct which shows cold outside air leaking into a nicely heated home. “Air leaks in the building envelope.” Giving you more air to pay to heat up.

Happy Clients

Responsible House worked tirelessly to bring back to life my family’s 100-year old farmhouse with a major energy retrofit and extensive structural restoration. I cannot say enough good things about this local, family owned business. They meticulously pursued perfection at… Read more “We are immensely grateful”

Joyce C.

William came to study the problem. He was incredibly thorough weighing in all possible causes and solutions to my Attic blues. He then put together a plan and executed it to perfection. If you do not go to Responsible house… Read more “Attic Blues”

Charles C.

They caulked all the places on the interior of my log home where I was losing heat. I am saving 20% on my heating bill now. The team also fixed minor issues with the house which they found during the… Read more “Very Happy With The Work”

Donna S.

The experience I had from Responsible House installing my new insulation it was quick and effortless. Their team came in and within two days I was able to return to a much warmer house. My air-conditioning would run almost constantly… Read more “Quick And Effortless”

Jason W.

The upstairs level of our home used to get extremely hot in the summertime, using a lot of wasted electricity to try to cool things down. Responsible house was able to insulate our home which ended up zeroing out our… Read more “Extremely Hot Upstairs Insulation Google Review”

Rachel B.

The most amazing contractors I have ever worked with – William saved us! You will not find anyone as professional and competent – not only in the valley but honestly anywhere.
I have had so many bad experiences –… Read more “Dahlia N./Houzz.com Review”

Our project consisted of a kitchen/bath/bedroom remodel – a roughly 5 month project. William and his team were the consummate professionals throughout–skilled, knowledgeable, straightforward and direct. They provided advice and recommendations when needed and dealt promptly with any problems that… Read more “Kay B./Houzz.com Review”

Not only do they provide high quality services, they also are extremely easy to work with and they have a strong sense of design. -Michael Brown/Houzz.com Review

“We highly recommend him and his team, and especially for a custom plan containing elements which are not standard construction.” –Custom Home Client/Houzz.com

They have a very thorough attention to detail, and always rendered results that were exactly what the clients and I were after. –Annie M./Houzz.com Review

A Net Zero Home
When conditioned air is trying to escape to the coldness outside, it has a hard time. This house only allows it’s volume of air to switch with the outside once every 24 hours. That’s 12 times more efficient than the average home. This is the 2nd tightest house we have built.
Outdoor Kitchen Window
Energy efficiency is not about your windows but this is one of the times we do recommend replacing your windows - when you are reimagining your space. This kitchen renovation on a 200 year old home also highlights Responsible House’s breadth of experience and that we can handle any projects tangential to your insulation needs.
Kitchen Remodel
We had to give you a peek of that window and kitchen from the inside. Truly reimagined!
Nellysford Cottage
This adorable cottage may not look fierce, but it is holding onto it’s air envelope mighty tightly. It takes 12 hours for all of the conditioned air inside of this house to sneak through the tiny holes present and be replaced by unconditioned air from the outside. In contrast, the average home does this every 2 hours. Super leaky homes (and plenty exist) perform far worse than that – every hour or even less!
Bungalow Remodel
These homeowners took it slowly over 5 years - insulated the ceiling of their basement, replaced their roof to prep for solar, had some solar installed, conditioned their attic (and replaced old HVAC equipment), and finally completed their solar array. Their home is cozy and energy efficient now.
Annie Interior
On a cold day, this home exchanges the entire envelope of air inside with the outside air about once every 40 hours. This is stunningly low! This translates to not having to keep your heater running on a cold day because you aren’t constantly heating the outside air that is coming in. The average house exchanges it’s entire volume of air (that you paid so dearly to warm up or cool off) with the outside air every 2 HOURS.