In October 2015 the home of Charles and Wimmer was struck by lightning and severely damaged. Charles and his wife decided that they wanted to have the house restored to it original design but add several energy efficient updates.
In 2008, I decided to have an energy audit done. Focus on Energy hooked me up with Aaron Riendau, of St. Croix Energy Consultants. He came and we pressurized the house with his blower door unit. He tested our air exhaust appliances and the drafts on the furnace and water heater. With all the doors closed, we looked all around the inside of the house with his infrared camera. When we put the house under pressure, we are able to induce drafts into the house from the outside. When the outside air is either much cooler or warmer than inside, we are able to see through where the outside air is coming in. I was shocked to see incredible leaks along the tops of my finished walls, around window frames, even around electrical outlets on interior walls. I had thought that I had done a perfect job of sealing up the thermal envelope. I would have been happy with a .5 ach but my home tested about 2.5 ach. I knew from training that the leakier the home, the more expensive to heat and to cool. On wind days, I was losing lots of energy due to leaks. The air tests also revealed in part why my upper floor gets so warm in the summer and stays so cool in the winter. The dormer lets loads of air in and the backs of my finished walls are awash in flowing, heat robbing air. As my home needed repainting I decided to address as many of the known air leaks as I could. This section of my website is devoted to this project.
In pictures and words, I will be documenting the air sealing techniques I am using to achieve a lower air exchange rate. When I have all the work on the outside and in the attic completed, we will retest to see how well my efforts worked. Then, we will tackle the electrical penetrations and other mechanical openings in the house, and all the weather strips on doors that are shrinking. And we will test again.
I will track my costs in time and material And will post monthly changes in gas and electricity use over the next several heating seasons. We will assess the change in comfort throughout the our home too.
This is the initial energy audit on my home with project photos below.