Energy Audit Services
You are likely paying more than you need to operate your home. Up to 60 percent of energy used to heat and cool homes can be lost due to leaky ducts, inefficient equipment, poor insulation and air leaks. These inefficiencies may also be causing dangerous situations and compromising the indoor air quality of your home. Premium Efficiency's certified inspectors will help you reach your goals of comfort and efficiency. We offer single measure diagnostic testing of house and duct tightness and whole house Home Performance Energy Audits.
Home Energy Audits may include:
Blower Door test to determine building shell tightness and locate leaks
Duct leakage and airflow testing to find duct leaks and sizing issues
Pressure imbalance testing that can back-draft combustion appliances
Combustion appliance safety and efficiency testing
Attic and crawl space inspections for moisture and insulation issues
Infrared imaging to find hidden insulation, moisture and air leakage problems
Comprehensive unbiased report with recommended improvements
Blower Door Testing
All homes have air leaks, but to what extent? Uncontrolled air leakage can cost you money, compromise your indoor air quality home, and put the durability of your homes structure at risk. A Blower Door Test will locate these leaks in your home. Finding and sealing air leaks in attics and crawlspaces will generally result in the most energy savings and help your home to perform better. After a blower door test you will have a list of building components that need to be addressed, and the best way to tackle each area.
How to Prepare for a Blower Door Test
House leakage testing takes about an hour to perform and can be done in conjunction with duct leakage testing. A Blower Door is set up in an exterior door. All other exterior doors and windows must be closed, and all interior doors open during testing. The Blower Door depressurizes the home to a set pressure and a reading is taken. Please have wood stove and fireplaces free of ashes and debris (no fires during or prior to testing).
Duct Leakage Testing
Leaky ducts can be responsible for up to 20% of the cost to heat and cool your home. Most duct systems have leakage at connections and fittings, while other homes have completely disconnected ducts. Duct tape that once sealed the ducts dries out over time, and loses its seal. These leaks can dramatically reduce the performance of even the most energy efficient equipment. If your HVAC ducts are located outside the conditioned space (attics, crawl spaces), you should have your duct system tested for tightness. A duct leakage test will give an exact duct leakage number and can help to locate disconnected or damaged ducting. If duct sealing is recommended, we can help provide you with a scope of work that you can use to address the duct sealing yourself or to help to get a quote from an HVAC contractor.
How to Prepare for a Duct Leakage Test
Duct leakage testing take 1 -2 hours to complete. All testing is done from inside the home. Please have all registers accessible to mask off. If registers are not accessible due to furniture, please let our staff know when scheduling. If your home has registers over stair ways, or in vaulted ceilings please let our staff know when scheduling (when a tall ladder is required to reach high register grills). After testing is completed the system is physically inspected for leakage areas, damaged areas, and duct insulation condition. Please have the access to the attic and crawl space (areas where ducts are located) clear of any stored items.
Home Performance Energy Audits use a comprehensive whole-house approach that looks at all areas of energy use in your home, not just one specific area. Instead of focusing on a single problem such as a drafty room or a leaky window, the house-as-a-system approach looks at how the different components affect each other and how to make upgrades in a safe and cost effective way. A Home Performance Energy Audit includes all the diagnostic and inspections listed above and a Home Energy Score report.
What to Expect from an Energy Audit
How to Prepare for Our
Scheduled Energy Audit
System Air Flow and Pressure Testing
All HVAC equipment is designed to move a specific amount of air at a specific pressure. An undersized duct system can make the most efficient heating and cooling equipment perform poorly. A duct system that is undersized can result in excessive fan energy use, loss of efficiency and shorten the life expectancy of the equipment. A system air flow and pressure test will determine if the HVAC system is operating at peak performance.
How to Prepare for a System Air Flow and Pressure Test
Air flow and pressure testing takes less than an hour and can be done in conjunction with Duct Leakage testing. The system air flow is measured by removing the furnace filter and using a True Flow testing plate where the filter goes. The system is run for 10-20 minutes to get the air handler in to steady state speed and a reading is taken on how much air (cfm) is being moved by the air handler blower. To test the operating pressure a ¼" hole is drilled in the supply and return air plenums and a static pressure probe is inserted. Pressure readings are taken with the system operating and checked against manufactures specifications. The drill holes are then sealed.
Zonal Pressurization Testing
Forced air heating systems deliver air to different areas and rooms via the duct system. An ideal system will have equal pressures throughout the different areas/zones. When doors are closed to rooms/zones both positive and negative pressures can result. If air is pushed into a room then air must be allowed to get back out of the room and back to air handler. Rooms without a return air pathway can become positively pressurized. Common return air pathways include dedicated ducted cold air returns in each room/zone, jumper return ducts that jump from the room to the common area, or undercutting the door by 1-2" to allow air to be pulled back under the door when it is closed. Positive pressures reduce the amount of air that can enter the room through the supply air registers, push air out of the room and into building structures which can result in moisture related damage. Common rooms like living and family rooms where fireplaces and woodstoves are located can become negatively pressurized. Negative pressures in zones with fuel burning appliances can create dangerous situations where combustion gases and wood smoke are pulled back down the chimney and into the room. Zonal pressure testing can help to identify areas of positive and negative pressures and help to make the system operate properly and safely.
How to Prepare for Zonal Pressurization Testing
Zonal pressurization testing is generally done at the same time as Duct Leakage Testing. A pressure hose is run to the outside or between rooms/zones and pressure readings are taken while the system is running. As a general rule pressure differences less than +/- 3.0pa between rooms/zones is the target.
Premium Efficiency works with the Bonneville Power Administration's Performance Tested Comfort Systems (PTCS) as both a Duct Sealing and Heat Pump Quality Assurance Inspector. By having an unbiased 3rd party check that energy efficiency upgrades have been done to program specifications with safety and accuracy we help to ensure that the public dollars spent on making homes more energy efficient is being done correctly and cost effectively.
We work with Northwest Energy Works and the ENERGY STAR Northwest Energy Efficient Manufactured Homes Program (NEEM) performing Quality Assurance Inspection in factories that build ENERGY STAR homes to ensure homes are built to the ENERGY STAR standards.
If you have made the investment in energy efficiency upgrades to your home, you deserve to know that the improvements were done correctly and that systems are working safely and operating at peak performance. Premium Efficiency works with private home owners to help create a plan on making their homes more comfortable and efficient and verifying that the upgrades are done safely and properly. When you hire Premium Efficiency we work for you, the home owner, to ensure you are getting all the savings and other benefits from the energy efficiency investments you make.
Quality Assurance Services
Utility rebate programs require that ducts and heat pumps are PTCS certified by a PTCS technician. Premium Efficiency works with HVAC contractors to perform the duct tightness testing/verification and heat pump commissioning for utility rebate and tax credit qualified projects. By having a third party certify that the duct sealing and heat pump commissioning have been done to specifications you give your customers the peace of mind that work was done correctly. By having Premium Efficiency perform the testing and verification your HVAC technicians can do what they do best, installing and maintaining high efficiency heating and cooling systems. Premium Efficiency is also available for hands-on, one-on-one, duct sealing training for HVAC contractors.