Reliable Energy Analysis
California Energy Efficiency Standards
Having a home energy rater measure the installed systems operating conditions gives them the data needed to compare against the manufacture's specifications, to determine if the system will reach manufacturer's end sale specifications for energy efficiency.
According to the Department of Energy, today's best air conditioners use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners made in the mid 1970's. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save 20% to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model. Proper sizing and installation are key elements in determining air conditioner efficiency. Too large a unit will not adequately remove humidity. Too small a unit will not be able to attain a comfortable temperature on the hottest days. Improper unit location, lack of insulation, and improper duct insulation can greatly diminish efficiency.
The average home mechanical system is delivering 57% of its capacity to the home. This means a five ton air conditioner is using approximately 17.5 kilo Watts per hour in energy but only 8.75 kilo Watts per hour of energy is making it into the home. The delivered efficiency of a system which has had HERS testing done and meeting the minimum compliance requirements delivers 63% of its capacity or about 11.02 kilo Watts of that 17.5 kilo Watts per hour a five ton system is pulling through your electrical meter. Proper installation would have the delivered efficiency over 95%. If the 95% efficiency furnace is leaking 30% of the conditioned air outside, then your system is not 95% efficient it is functioning at 65% efficiency!
A duct pressure test is a measurement of the air pressure leakage in your home's ducting system. Ducts are the largest contributor to leakage of both heating and cooling on most homes (typically leaking 30% or more). Having a duct pressure test is a great starting point in determining your home's overall energy efficiency.
The Benefits of a Duct Pressure Test
When you have a new heating and air conditioning unit installed or new ducting installed there needs to be a building permit issued and a third party independent HERS rater (not associated with the installing company) needs to perform a Duct Pressure Test. The systems passing certificate then needs to be on site to be seen by the local building inspector as part of their final inspection. The duct pressure test certifies that your new system is functioning properly, in its working environment, and installed to current state standards for efficiency.
This system of checks and balances is in place to protect the home owner, it gives you peace of mind knowing the warranty on your new equipment will be honored, because it was certified that the entire system (main unit & ducting), was installed and functioning properly. Having a permitted project also protects you from possible future fines and penalties, which can arise from having an un-permitted HVAC system installed in your home.
The local building inspector is only checking code issues regarding the local jurisdictions liability for permitting and approving the work done on your home. None of the permitting of inspections done by the local agency tests the functionality or efficiency of the equipment or installation (this is why the state of California has mandated HERS testing). Combine this lack of functinal testing on your newly installed system with leaps in the technology and you end up with installations approved by the local jurisdiction which uses twice as much energy as needed, costs twice as much to operate, fail prematurely due to improper installation and leaves the home owner with the same comfort problems they indented to address in the first place.
WHAT IS A DUCT PRESSURE TEST ?
1. Alerts you to know if you have leakage in your
heating and air system.
2. Identify health risks such as "backdrafting" of
combustion gases (such as carbon monoxide) from
your appliances into living spaces.
3. Improve air quality by reducing allergens,
pollutants, and toxins such as insect and rodent
waste. If air can leak out...bugs and rodents can get in!
4. Save you money on monthly energy bills.
5. Reduce your home energy loss, and its