Ask the Experts: How Healthy is Your Home?

Ask the Experts: How Healthy is Your Home?

The benefits of an energy audit are numerous. While learning cost-effective ways to reduce your energy consumption and improve your comfort are the primary benefits, many customers have also found that an energy audit uncovers hidden problems about their home that they may never have been addressed otherwise.

Dirt and dust found in the attic of a homeowner.

The Guanlao Family, for example, learned through a $95 audit that they had a mold problem in their home caused by poor ventilation, improper insulation, and a lack of airflow in their attic. Fortunately, Community Power Works helped the family upgrade their home, which offered a quick and affordable solution to the mold problem.

We checked in with the Guanlao family last week. Mr. Guanlao reports that not only have his energy bills been cut in half, his family (and his plants) have experienced numerous health benefits since their upgrade was completed over a year ago. He writes: “I have observed that our house plants are now healthier and have bright leaves. Before our upgrade, during winter they would just die no matter how much I would increase the temperature of our heater. Most importantly, we are not getting sick, which we usually experience at this time of year.”

In addition to finding allergy-inducing mold lurking behind walls, building science experts routinely find other hidden problems during home energy audits that can impact occupants’ health and safely.  For example, Community Power Works auditors and contractors are trained extensively through the Building Performance Institute (BPI) to carefully audit the Combustion Appliance Zone of each home they work in. A Combustion Appliance Zone—or CAZ—is an area in your home that contains oil, natural gas, or propane consuming device, such as furnaces, water heaters, gas stoves, and fireplaces.

Combustion safety testing in action!

Community Power Works contractors’ pay extra attention to delivering proper air exchange to CAZs to decrease the risk of any combustion by-products reaching unhealthy levels in your home. An example of a combustion by-product is carbon monoxide (CO), which poses life-threatening health risks.

Americans spend most of their lives indoors and the indoor air quality of the buildings we live in affects our health. Community Power Works auditors and contractors are passionate about helping homeowners solve their indoor air quality issues. According to Gordon Smith of Revolution Green Power, one of his most memorable moments working as a home energy auditor was when he “found a significant gas leak in a home and probably saved lives.”

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Community Power Works is a Seattle neighborhood-based building retrofit program that will achieve deep energy savings and create green jobs.