A Home Energy Audit Now Cuts Heating Costs, Ice Dams Later

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We know what’s coming. But with any luck, it won’t be nearly as severe as last winter.

Still, our drop in temperatures should be a sign of action we can take now to help save heating dollars in the months ahead.

Never before have homeowners had more tools and technology to check their homes for heating problems and poor insulation. Both deficiencies will contribute to costly heating bills and the formation of ice dams.

Scott Koltes is taking action now. His century-old home was updated 30 years ago. Still, he knows that his house could be more energy efficient.

“In the neighborhood I’m actually the highest energy [user] of all the homes around here,” Koltes said. “So obviously, I’m losing heat and losing energy somewhere.”

To find out where, Koltes’ home is getting an energy audit from Centerpoint Energy. That’s an in-home test to point out deficiencies in the heating system, insulation, windows and doors.

“Homeowners get a chance to see just where the problem spots are in their house,” says Centerpoint’s Sam Greene. “A lot of homeowners are interested in saving energy and saving money on their energy bills, but aren’t sure where to start.”

To do the test, the house is tightly sealed at the front doorway so a fan can apply a negative pressure. Any cold air infiltrating into the home through cracks will be captured on a thermal imaging gun.

Up in the attic, auditor Jasmine Wagener found a few problems. It’s a concern because poor attic insulation and ventilation leads to damaging ice dams.

For Koltes, it’s a simple, low-cost test now that is sure to save him money and headaches in the cold days ahead.

“Absolutely it’d be worth it if I’m saving $50 over this winter each month,” he said. “I mean, it’s going to pay for itself.”

Centerpoint Energy charges $25 for a simple walk-through audit. The more complete home energy audit that Koltes had performed with the thermal imaging will run $100.

When problems are detected and brought to a homeowner’s attention, corrective measures can be taken by insulation and HVAC experts.

The solutions could be as simple as weather stripping or caulking leaks, to adding more insulation in the attic.

Depending on the age of the house, you might need more expensive solutions, ranging from a new furnace to replacing inefficient windows and doors.

Click here for more information.

More from Bill Hudson
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