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So Many Options For Home Performance

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We are a company that does plumbing and HVAC service and replacement. We are also a full mechanical contractor. Our company started back in 1978 with my brother and I. We got pretty serious about the residential replacement business in the early 2000’s. We became a great replacement company that had great service, instead of a great service company that did replacements when needed.

In 2011 we were introduced to Home Performance. We were already very good at duct performance, but had no idea how much the building affected the load other than the manual J’s that we did on every job. The more you learn about Home Performance, the more you realize it is us the HVAC contractor that needs to lead this charge of making homes more efficient. You learn that it is not just the systems and the duct work.

It becomes very confusing sometimes when you start analyzing a house. So we have started giving the homeowner many options on their homes. We try to categorize by what is most important. We have an example of a house that started with a call to check their duct work because their kids were always getting sick, and had to be taken to the hospital once a week for asthma treatments. They wanted a duct cleaning. We will call this customer Mr. Jones. Once the tech got there, he realized they had a lot of issues including bad ductwork, an old system, crawl space issues, and others. The tech knew that they needed a home advisor. This house was built in the 1950’s.

Once tests started, we realized the return duct was tied into the crawl space (not intended), and to the attic. The supply duct was old and apart in places. There was also a louvered door on the water heater closet. At some point that was probably intended to be the combustion air. During one of the water heater changes the ceiling was removed in that closet so the combustion air would come from the vented attic. So now the louvered door is allowing attic air into the house, especially when the system ran, as it was short on return and was causing negative pressure in the house.

Options were given and Mr. Jones elected to do a new system, ductwork, insulation, new doors on the water heater closet that were sealed, and a small air sealing package. They did not elect to do the crawl space.

The test in numbers on the blower door was 3378 CFM, and the duct leakage was 632 CFM. After work was completed the blower door was 2057 CFM, and duct leakage on a 3.5 ton system 134 CFM.

Even though Mr. Jones did not elect to do everything that could have made his house better, the comfort results were great. Mr. Jones had never been comfortable before, and is now both comfortable and breathing better! The kids have not had to have any more treatments. They realized the house was making them sick.

With so many things that can be done to a house, it is good to give homeowners options, so that they can do them as they can if needed. It is important for us to explain what will give the most benefit with them knowing that it can always be better.

Mark Pippin

Posted In: Building Performance, Residential Buildings

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