Comprehensive Audit

An energy audit is an inventory of your home’s energy efficiency, comfort, and combustion safety. We conduct our audits to BPI (Building Performance Institute) specifications, which means that each audit consists of:

Building envelope analysis. One of the key elements in lack of climate comfort and energy loss is air escaping from your home, or sneaking into your home from outside, through gaps and leaks in the structure. Typically these occur through the attic, and between your foundation and the flooring above it in the basement. Other times, window and door frames will be a source of leaks. Through a combination of mechanical testing and knowing where to look, we can find these gaps and leaks and prescribe a solution.

Insulation assessment. A second element of adequate protection from the elements is insulation. When a warm surface (the ceiling over your conditioned upstairs) is in contact with a freezing cold area (your freezing cold attic), a layer of insulation reduces the amount of heat that is transferred. Far too often we find that the insulation in attics and basements is dirty, damaged, inadequate, or even missing altogether.

Combustion safety. It’s not something we think about often, but a home with a natural gas, oil, or propane powered boiler, furnace or water heater is a home with a combustion appliance inside. Most of us know better than to run a car engine with the garage door closed, but we owe it to ourselves and our families to make sure that, just like that car, a running furnace or water heater has a chance to properly vent the gases it produces. By running a series of tests, we ensure that your appliances are running properly and safely venting their exhaust.

Comprehensive Home Energy Audit - PhiladelphiaBlower door test. An important aid in concluding all the tests described above is the blower door test. Our technician will mount a blower door- a large fan set inside a telescoping door frame- in one of your outside door jambs (typically the front door; the door itself is not removed from the frame). By revving this fan up to a high level of RPMs, we artificially lower the air pressure in your home. By measuring how fast the fan has to spin to maintain this low air pressure, we can determine exactly how leaky your home is. This tells us how much air sealing we can do without making your home too airtight (which can contribute to mold and mildew problems and interfere with the safe operation of your combustion safety appliances).

Infrared imaging. An optional service available to our customers is infrared or thermal imaging. Using a specialized camera, we record images that illustrate, in vivid color, changes in temperature owing to air leaks, insufficient insulation, moisture or electrical problems. Properly recorded and documented, these images can aid the consumer in understanding the challenges of their home environment, and also serve as a guide for the contractor in meeting those challenges. If you choose to have thermal imaging included in your energy audit, your report will include a selection of these photographs.

Home Assessment and Interview. We take note of a variety of other things that can improve your quality of life and bottom line- have you installed CFLs or LED lights, or are you still using incandescent bulbs? Is there a refrigerator in your basement or garage that you could do without? If you have a forced air system, is the ductwork in good shape? Is the piping nearest to the water heater insulated? How high do you keep your thermostat? Is the thermostat programmable?

We will ask that you have a year’s worth of your utility bills available to us. After we leave your home to compile the report, we will use information from these bills to estimate how much energy and money you might save after the recommended upgrades are complete.

The report. Typically, a week after our technician visits you will receive a report. This report will summarize the major issues we uncovered in your home. It will prescribe measures we recommend to solve those problems, estimate the annual savings you can expect when these measures are implemented, and calculate a rate of return based on the cost of installing these measures. We use software which analyzes the information we collect from the site visit.

It's up to you.  We tell you what we found, and what we recommend, but the decision on how to proceed will rest with you- what to have done, and by whom. Contact us today to get started with your free home energy assessment

Premier Contrators serves the greater Philadelphia area, including Montgomery County, Bucks County, Delaware County, and Chester County, PA.