If you have noticed several of the symptoms of an inefficient
home, you are not alone. Most homes, especially those built
before the late 1980s, were not built with carefully balanced and
constructed systems in place. Cost cutting is only partly to
blame. The main issue is that without recent advances in
building science and testing technology, even the most careful builders
would only be guessing at how well they were constructing a
house. Subtle, almost undetectable construction imperfections
can add up to major problems in a house's overall
performance. Thus, even a house with EnergyStar components may
suffer from seriously underperforming systems. Common
imperfections and defects include:
Air leaking into and out of multiple gaps and
crevices in the house's shell.
As much as 30% of heating and cooling air
leaking from the ducts before it ever reaches the rooms of a house.
Inadequate or improperly installed
insulation. Improperly installed insulation typically looses
more than half of its potential temperature trapping ability.
Furnaces and air conditioners that are
oversized by 200% to 300% working hard and frequently cycling on and
off in response to rapid losses of conditioned air. This
causes excess noise and increases equipment wear and tear.
Inadequate or contaminated ventilation air
that contributes to stuffy or musty air and possible carbon monoxide
Unbalanced airflow systems that pull smoke,
fumes, or flames from sources throughout the house and could contribute
to fire or toxicity hazards.
Sources of moisture entering the house and
contributing to mold, mildew and dry rot problems.
Dank or rodent infested crawl spaces leading
to poor air quality, lowered energy efficiency, and a variety
of damage to the house.
Built-in lights and fans that are inefficient
and leak significant quantities of conditioned air into the attic.