home performance to a science
The NorthWest's Leading
Home Performance Contractor
Karen Tiedt was cold in her own home and her energy bills were very high. When Karen invited friends over to eat or play cards, they would often be forced to keep their coats on inside the house. Karen’s home relied on baseboard heaters, which are a very inefficient way to heat a home, and her utility bill was high.
Despite raising the baseboard heaters to the maximum settings, her home was drafty and cold. Then, one winter,the units stopped working altogether.
Karen called the team at Revival Energy.
Revival Energy performed a full home performance assessment, including a comfort assessment and an energy audit. Testing revealed the following issues:
We discovered that Karen was “paying to heat the great outdoors” with her expensive baseboard heaters, because her home leaked a lot of energy.
We calculated the home's actual performance through the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual J. This process allowed us to precisely understand how each component of Karen’s home affected the heating load and identify priorities for improvement based on Karen’s health, comfort and efficiency goals. Karen was losing over 25,000 BTUhs on the coldest night of the year, which is a lot of wasted energy.
26% of the wasted energy was from air leakage, which comes through places like air ducts and around electrical fixtures. That’s the equivalent to having an 11x11-inch hole in the house.
Karen’s home was also poorly insulated, resulting in rapid heat loss through an insufficiently insulated attic (22%), walls (22%), and floor (10%).
We recommended air sealing the home, which dramatically reduces air leakage. This involves sealing leaky ducts and leak points around can lights, plumbing and electrical penetrations. We performed the “blower door” test both before after insulation so that Karen could see the reduction in air leakage for herself.
We also recommended that Karen upgrade her home’s insulation, starting with her attic. Attic insulation is a barrier to summer heat while keeping the cool air-conditioned air inside, as well as capturing the home’s heated air during the winter. We also recommended making an air-tight and properly insulated floor to reduce the amount of crawlspace air infiltration and heat lost through Karen’s floors.
Since baseboard heaters are terribly inefficient, we recommended replacing them with a ductless heat pump system. Ductless heat pumps are extremely energy efficient and less expensive than a installing a full central heating and air-conditioning system. Ductless heat pumps require no ducts for installation, run very quietly, and come with air conditioning as well as heat. With Karen’s insulation and air-sealing upgrades, the ductless system can keep her house comfortable year-round.
Finally, we noted that Karen’s old water heater was due for replacement, and gave her an estimate for a more energy efficient heat pump water heater.
The Revival Energy team brought Karen’s home up to code with insulation and air-sealing upgrades andinstalled the ductless heat pump with two units inside the house. We predicted a 34% decrease in the need for heating once the work was complete, and a 40% decrease in Karen’s electric bill.
Karen is now very comfortable in her home. She loves her ductless heat pump and can invite friends over in the winter without asking them to keep their coats on. Her electric bill was cut dramtically as you can see from the screen capture of her recent bill (above).
Karen is extremely happy with the work, as you can hear from her testimonial video.