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Project Profile: Dan Smith, Homeowner

Sunday, 02 October 2011 12:59
Published in Projects

Project Profile: Dan Smith, HomeownerDan Smith

homeowner, grandfather, environmentalist, editor of The Valley Business FRONT

the problems

On the verge of purchasing the home that he'd been renting, Dan wanted an assessment to identify any hidden issues, fix a pesky hot/cold spot on the second level, and find out if the house was insulated properly. He didn't think we'd find much, though, as the house was "tight as a tick" in his words.

After a thorough visual inspection, we found that all of the air leaks added up to a 3 foot diameter hole (pretty typical, in fact, of most homes). The stack effect was pulling moist, unhealthy air from the basement/crawlspace into the conditioned envelope. We also indicated to Dan that the existing oil-fired boiler was very inefficient - as was the existing 10 SEER heat pump. And, we found a fire hazard: the dryer duct was doing a loop-de-loop - and lint was trapped in the convolutions. This was also resulting in the need for three drying cycles to get clothes dry.

the solutions

Better Building Works air-sealed the knee walls in the attic, added attic insulation, and sealed the attic access. We also properly weatherstripped exterior and basement doors. They had weatherstripping but it was ineffective, having been installed improperly. We insulated the water heater in the basement, rerouted the dryer duct, sealed duct supply boots and added insulation to the underside of the main level. Dan also decided to replace his heating/air-conditioning system, so we helped him select a qualified subcontractor to do the work (requiring a Manual J calculation to size the equipment properly and provide effective ventilation).

the results

Results were immediate. Dan said the home just "felt better" right away. As we were working there was a day where the temperature just dropped overnight. Well, that was the day after the existing boiler and air compressor were removed - and the day before the new SEER 15 heating and air system were installed. When Dan went to bed, the outdoor temperature was 73 - as was the indoor temperature. When he woke up, the outdoor temperature was 45. Indoor temperature had only dropped 4 degrees! He was thrilled. Oh, yeah, and his clothes are drying now in one short cycle!

the projection of return

Dan's expenses can expect to be paid off in 1.5 - 2 years or annual savings of several hundred dollars. This means that by next year, those several hundred dollars will be Dan's to spend instead of being wasted. Additional value includes enhanced comfort, healthier air and a more valuable home for years to come.

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