Home Heating: Dear Liza, there’s a Hole in the Bucket!

Are you excited to get your January heating bill?

Those of you who insulated, caulked and plugged the obvious holes might very well be excited to see the resulting savings. But the rest of us are groaning and ready to put on another sweater to keep the costs down.

Letting the heat escape from your home is the equivalent of transporting water with a hole in the bucket: your heating payments are literally dribbling “out the window.”

But finding the holes in your home can be a challenge.

blowerdoorgraphic

Alex Mircic has a couple of decades of home-building under his belt. Having worked as a general contractor with a large company most of his life, he knows where a home’s nooks and crannies are. He first started looking more closely at energy consumption in his own home when he realized 92% of his energy costs were going toward heating. He then invested in his own equipment as he set out to measure the difference he was making with each energy efficiency improvement. This, combined with studying and adding up his hydro and gas bills, gave him a precise reading of the difference he was making every time he “plugged the holes.”

Then he started helping others. “What I’ve found is that most houses have a hole the equivalent of 3 x 3 feet when you add up all the air exchanged per hour.”

Above image: Note the temperature under the carpet is -7C when the rest of the ground is at -16C. The ground is glowing from the heat that is escaping from the basement, where it is missing insulation.

Sometimes it’s a gap in the attic or basement insulation, or a combination of multiple small leaks. But sometimes the air leaks are really not in obvious places. “I recently checked out an older home. The couple who bought it was making improvements to make it more efficient, like installing brand new top-of-the-line windows,” said Mircic.

Turns out, after an energy audit, Mircic found the windows were causing the greatest problem. All the cold air was coming in through the walls around the windows. They had not been installed properly.

Finding the hole in the bucket

Mircic uses two main pieces of equipment to find air leaks in a home.

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Blower door: A blower door is a powerful fan that mounts into the frame of an exterior door. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed cracks and openings.

Thermal camera: A thermographic camera or infrared camera is a device that forms an image using infrared radiation. Combining this technology with a blower door, an energy audit inspector can get a visual reading of where warm air is flowing, exchanged, or ‘lost’. Other heat sources are also made visible by the camera including electrical components, overheating fuses, leaky plumbing, faulty ventilation, etc.

Next step: plug up those holes.
Mircic makes recommendations about where to insulate, which doors and windows are improperly installed, where caulking could help and other tips. The bottom line is: there’s little point investing in a high-efficiency furnace if much of the heat it produces escapes from a poorly-insulated house. A well-insulated house will also result in more evenly heated rooms and keep your home cooler in the summer.

Smaller changes and habits can also add up to greater energy savings. For example, did you know that installing coloured blinds and keeping them away from the window helps keep heat inside rather than reflecting it out of the house?

Have a look at your last heating bill. Ask neighbours and friends who have insulated their home how much they pay. Call us for a home energy audit. Find out what government programs are available to subsidize your home energy efficiency improvements.

Fix that bucket.

Mose Home Inspection Services
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Lay Chan Wee
Lay Chan Wee
01:19 31 Aug 21
I was impressed with the service provided by Rui Su. He was organized, explained in detail area that I am not familiar... with. He provided a good report. I will recommend him if you need home inspection.read more
Mary Jane Caro
Mary Jane Caro
14:25 27 Aug 21
I am always pleased to recommend Carol Mose from Mose Home Inspection Services to my clients who have had offers... accepted on residential real estate properties. She is knowledgeable, thorough, provides clear explanations, and delivers comprehensive reports.read more
Massimo Pannunzio
Massimo Pannunzio
22:05 25 Aug 21
Michael has got to be on of the best home inspectors in all of Quebec. It was amazing working with him and he had my... best interest at heart when making a life changing decision. He made sure I had all the answers and made it easy to work with him. I will be using Mose inspection for any moment that I need an inspection done that's for sure!read more
Amanda Lee
Amanda Lee
19:14 16 Jun 21
Amazing experience with Carol Mose who helped me with a pre-purchase inspection! She was very approachable and... observant, and informed me of all her first impressions on-site. This gave me greater understanding of any conditions as I was able to ask any quick questions on the spot. Her reports are the most thorough that I've seen and include diagrams to help explain what any physical signs mean and potential consequences. Could not have asked for a better inspector!read more
Maeghan Banks
Maeghan Banks
15:38 14 Jun 21
Carol was wonderful to work with for our pre-purchase inspection. She was professional, thorough and communicative,... taking the time to explain her findings as we went through the house. After the inspection, we felt we had clear knowledge of the condition of the house (both pros and cons), allowing us to move forward with the purchase with confidence. Highly recommend!read more
Ryan Chalupovitsch
Ryan Chalupovitsch
13:43 01 Jun 21
Carol Mose is the best home inspector in the business. Approachable and extremely knowledgeable. She did an... inspection for me and really took the time to explain her findings and help me understand the home I was looking to purchase. Cannot recommend her enough. Don’t hesitate.read more
Elisabeth Faure
Elisabeth Faure
21:16 29 Apr 21
This is the second time I have used MOSE, and they are always really amazing. Very nice, very professional. they came... to have a look at my roof and let me know if we were due for a repair - I was very satisfied with everything and would recommend them to anybody!read more
Hannah S
Hannah S
22:05 16 Apr 21
I had a great experience with Mose home inspection. My husband and I are first time homebuyers and so had a ton of... questions about the process. Everyone we talked with was really informative and helpful. Michael was our inspector and was phenomenal. The inspection was very thorough and he explained everything in detail with realistic next steps for us to take. We came out of the inspection feeling really informed. Plus, he is just an absolute delight! He had very contagious enthusiasm and made the inspection a really positive experience. Would highly recommend!read more
Gabriel Lukuc
Gabriel Lukuc
03:05 16 Apr 21
Michael was amazing. He took the time to explain to us what’s really important and the reasoning behind it. We’re not... very handy nor savvy when it comes to home construction so we really appreciate him taking the time to explain to us all aspects of the inspection. Also, Michael was friendly, professional and timely; he provided the report over a holiday and a weekend.read more
Stephanie Ballard
Stephanie Ballard
14:24 19 Mar 21
MOSE is the best in the business. Once again we were happy with their inspection services - they are professional,... friendly and knowledgeable. Would not hesitate to recommend to friends and family (and have)!read more
Rodrigo Morales
Rodrigo Morales
18:27 10 Sep 20
Home inspection
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