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Get qualified help to warm up your house for winter

Friday, 21 October 2011 14:43
Published in News

Get qualified help to warm up your house for winterYou've probably received Appalachian Power's link to the webpage about getting your home ready for winter. Heating bills account for most of a home's energy usage in the cold months ... and more than 30% annually in Southwest Virginia. Reducing those bills and getting more comfortable begins with getting an energy audit and then using that information to craft an upfit strategy.

Their first step is: "Before winter begins, have a qualified technician inspect and clean your heating system to ensure that it is running efficiently and safely."

They're right. But before you do the rest of the steps, you should begin with a qualified auditor: someone with, at minimum, BPI (Building Performance Institute) Certification. Even better, it's someone with a lot of experience in doing energy efficiency audits, assessments, and local building industry knowledge.

A BPI Certified professional understands a few things that most other so-called 'auditors' do not: combustion appliances introduce a layer of responsibility for the health, safety and well-being of building occupants in very specific ways. Doing the rest of the steps that AEP recommends without the right background can create unsafe conditions - such as Carbon Monoxide build-up and fire hazards.

A house is a system. Every change to one system will affect all of the others. Building science gives us a way to measure the current state of that system and understand how changes will affect it. An audit by a BPI-qualified professional is the best way to do this, and they should measure both before and after changes are done to verify effectiveness and safety.

But not all BPI-Certified Professionals are created equal. Unless they are experienced in the local building design and construction market, you could end up with recommendations that create other kinds of problems, are expensive or ugly.

So Bravo to Appalachian Power for the page - but be sure to figure out where you are now with an energy audit. This will help you customize a list of the least expensive solutions that will achieve the most effective, safe, and beautiful results. Insist on locally experienced, BPI Certified professionals to keep your family safe and warm.


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