Last month, my wife asked me at breakfast, "When are we going to have warm floors?" I didn't know. How could we be comfortable in our own home?
As the new executive director of Energy Wise Alliance, and new impetus from my other half, I went on a search for who to hire, what programs we qualified for, and how much it was going to cost. What I found was a confusing mix of different options.
From the tangle of incentives, programs and information I found out that I needed to:
- Hire an energy auditor
- Take her/his advice
- Hire a weatherization contractor
- Get the work done
- Schedule a final audit to get the incentives
- Look into solar leasing or purchase programs
But I didn't know that was the order I needed to go in, so I did it in this way instead:
From my last gig at Bike Easy, I hired sponsors of that program, egfoam.com. Dorothy sat at my kitchen table and talked me through all the ways my house was leaking heat, and thus leaking dollars.
From gaps around plumbing holes, at base boards and the old chimney, as well as in can lights and ceiling fans, we were undoubtedly loosing warm air. On visual inspection, only one of our windows was old, and needed some sealing.
With no subfloor and old hardwood, you can feel the cold radiating up and the drafts coming through the cracks. Either foam board or spray foam insulation was needed to seal up the floors.
When Jeff came out and did a blower door test (which was really cool), we found a lot of cracks and gaps that were letting my expensive heated air out of the house. And it wasn't from the windows! We also did a walk through of the house and attic.
In the attic, it was immediately apparent that our heater and the duct work was leaking. How? Because it was hot up there, and cold in my house! By reducing hard angles, sealing the joints and closing up gaps in kneewalls and dropped ceilings lots of improvements could be made.
The cellulose insulation was a mere dusting of materials (less than 1") and yet it was supposed to have 10" to be effective. No wonder it was so hot up there!
We've scheduled the contractor to come seal our ducts, and prepare our attic for insulation. After that, I might try my hand at blowing in insulation, and then hire the contractor do to the spray foam under my home.
From the incentives available and the particulars of my home, different incentives made sense, as does letting a professional do most of it, while doing small stuff myself.
Stay tuned, I'll let you know how it turns out. Someday soon, my wife will have the warm floors she deserves without having to take out a second mortgage.