Get An Energy Audit Before Replacing Your Heating Unit
This article was written to help you save money on buying a replacement or an additional heating and cooling unit. Conservation Pros is a local company composed building performance specialists who have dealt with comfort, safety, efficiency, and health issues in more than 1000 homes in Western North Carolina. More times then not, if your heating and cooling unit works than it should not be replaced before getting an energy audit. Many HVAC companies intend on selling you a big item for their benefit and make false claims about energy savings as a result of replacements, and they know it.
This pyramid shows the renovations with lower ROI (25yr) at the top and great ROI’s (3yrs) at the bottom.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ASHEVILLE HOMES
To understand the position of this article we will start with a little history of the area. Asheville, and surrounding parts of Buncombe County (Weaverville, Fletcher, Fairview, Black Mountain, and Swannanoa) are composed of a mixture of older and newer homes. With newer construction energy saving measures take a back seat to the need to be the lowest bidder. This means that new homes are built by the lowest bidder to meet, and not exceed, building code. In the Southeast this means that new homes contain minimal insulation, and are not properly air sealed. This results in buildings that are unable to contain heat, and so in the dead of winter the heating unit may be running non-stop.
Many of the older homes started in a time a plentiful heating resources (Wood, Coal, Oil) so air leakage, insulation, etc., were not accounted for when they were built. With recent growth, most of these older homes are being occupied year-round, are too inefficient to keep warm in the cold months. Again this doesn’t mean you need a new heating system, it means your home needs some energy-saving improvements.
Occupants are paying for the lack of initiative taken towards efficiency during construction by dealing with discomfort and high energy bills. One easy solution often comes to mind for many of these home owners, something like, “We should get a new/another heating unit.” The smart solution is always to get an energy audit first.
Why To Get An Energy Audit First
It is a very risky investment to buy a new HVAC unit before getting an energy audit. More times than not, an additional HVAC unit will be compensating for the amount of energy waste occurring through air leakage and lack of insulation. We have seen homes that were having over 30% energy loss just because of poor ductwork. For this reason, Conservation Pros offers affordable and comprehensive energy audits to home owners making assessing the energy efficiency of the home as easy as it is important.
While replacement of your heating unit may be necessary in some cases, it is never the first step. Comfort issues are usually a result of the homes inability to contain heat. Air sealing and insulation costs far less than a new heating and cooling unit and has the potential to reduce heating loads by 30%. The brilliant part of this solution is the win-win nature of energy efficiency improvements.
Just look at the benefits of Energy Audit Recommendations:
- Estimated 7 Year ROI
- Improved Comfort
- Better Indoor Air Quality
- Lower Energy Bills
- Improved Durability of Existing HVAC Systems
- Reduced Environmental Impact
Financing is available for energy efficiency improvements for homeowners, as well as rebates. Remember, if you heating and cooling system is running, do not replace it until after your home has been assessed by a BPI certified energy auditor.
Below is a diagram of how air leakage occurs in homes