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Making A House A Performing Home

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As installation manager and home energy auditor at Bovio Heating, Plumbing, Cooling, and Insulation, over the last several years I have had the great pleasure of being included through the entire process of home performance. Instead of simply selling insulation, heaters, and water heating, we get to combine high efficiency appliances, with extensive and thorough building diagnostics, to accurately address true comfort issues and properly implement energy saving measures that truly create comfortable, safe, and efficient homes.

One particular house was in desperate need of some corrections, but the homeowner wasn’t sure what to do. What she was sure of, was that she was uncomfortable. When the customer first came to us for her energy audit, she expressed extensive concerns about the overall comfort deficiencies in her recently purchased home. Through her knowledge of her most disconcerting areas, and a thorough home energy assessment, we were able to address directly each of her concerns effectively and efficiently while overall improving her home as a system.

Area number one was the living room. The floors were so drastically cold in the winter months that if she wasn’t wearing enough footwear she got chills.

Area 2 was the second floor of her cape cod, which was always cold in the winter, and extremely hot in the in the warmer months, even though she had central air conditioning.

In order to address the first issue, we had to look to the crawl space. The entire first floor was over a dirt floored, uninsulated, vented crawl and contained nearly the entire ducted distribution system, which was not only uninsulated, but also unsealed. This situation was allowing unconditioned air to freely flow throughout the space, greatly affecting the temperature of the underside of the flooring and the conditioned ducts, robbing them of their effectiveness before they even had a chance to make the home comfortable. The dirt floor was constantly allowing moisture to penetrate into the home, making the conditions inside feel much less comfortable no matter what the season. With the implementation of a properly installed vapor barrier, blocking the existing vents, and applying high-density spray foam to all of the exposed crawl walls, we have brought the entire space within the thermal boundary, thus eliminating each issue of concern on the first floor. Now the duct system can do its job properly, the moisture is locked outside where it belongs and the floors to be lived upon are the same cozy temperature of the living space.

To the upstairs issues, a similar approach was best. The home had poor insulation levels in knee wall areas, an inadequate amount of uninsulated duct and a room above the garage completely exposed to the surrounding temperatures. We tackled this list of issues with the same principle of bringing these areas inside the thermal boundary, conditioning the interior walls to the same effect as the flooring downstairs. Spray foam insulation was applied to the underside of the roof deck to insulate the space and provide an additional level of air sealing. To overcome the inadequacy of the old duct system, a two-zone Mitsubishi ductless heat pump system was installed for perfectly controlled, zoned comfort.

By addressing the home as a system and implementing modern technological energy saving measures, we were able to create a more comfortable and more efficient home for the customer.

Sean Fitch
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Posted In: Building Performance, Residential Buildings

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