Here, Let’s Hit it with a Hammer

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”  Abraham Maslow – wise guy.

Your home is a complex system of many constituent parts. The energy efficiency of your home is the result of the interaction of these many constituent parts.

The people we hire to work on our homes are very specialized in century 21. Systems have become very complex. HVAC systems now rely on digital brains when once we threw wood into an open fireplace for heat.

But But But But BEWARE

It might not serve your best interests to understand your home’s energy issues by getting all your information through the HVAC guy. We need true experts for what they do know, but we must be careful when we rely on them for definitive answers to questions about which they know less than they might think. It is so tempting to see all solutions through the tools we wield.

In fact, HVAC technology is changing so fast- mini-splits are usurping the industry now- what you need and what your HVAC mechanic might want for you just might be different. And you won’t know it unless you take the time to ask around, and expect answers that best serve your interests.

Now I don’t want to just pick on HVAC people. Lets beat up on window replacement companies too.

The same goes for the window replacement company. And I might be showing of a bit of prejudice here- but even government publications are inundated with window data based on the average home dealing with the averaged heating degree days. Why you can save bushels of money by replacing your windows- this is utter BS unless the data pertains to your house and how many square feet of windows you have and how exposed they are to solar radiation.

Do you have time for a short entertaining story?

I was just at the TXU energy saving website playzone, and replacing your windows was like the very highest, most productive way to reduce your heating costs… check it out… — This was utter BS. Your losses through your windows depend on the vital statistics of your home.

You need to be super picky. People come at you assuming you have drank the kool-aid and will sell you thousands of dollars of windows with high tone phraseology that has nothing to do with what it takes to slow down your electric meter.

Not  Not Not Not to say…

Not to say windows are not important. But you need to know the facts as they pertain to your house, and what options you have to save energy. But it is so easy to get caught up in the technical BS on window ratings. Do not get caught up in the technical tidbits of picking windows until you find out exactly your existing windows are costing you in energy use.

No matter how wonderful and zippy the new windows are- they cannot save you more than your existing losses.

Do you know any sales people  you just plain cannot trust to watch out for your interests? 

Their only purpose is to make a sale. They want you to think that they have your best interests in mind but they want to sell you something. You have to develop your own bat ears for detecting selfish motives. And you will develop them as you gain perspective on what makes sense. When you get a feeling for the big picture and the challenges you face, you will become startling aware of a self-serving point of view when it presents itself.

I want to apologize to every conscientious caring contractor I just maligned.

Now, this statement is unfair to all those trustworthy conscientious contractors out there who take pride in doing good work. And I apologize to all of them. But my task here, is to help you steer clear of the self serving types, and gravitate to those who are interested in being in business for the long term and watching out for customers.

Remember, when you call a window replacement company- they will most likely see your energy solution through new windows. Quick question- would you expect the top sales person in the window replacement company to be pretty smart about getting people to buy windows or to take them through a list of reasons they might not need new windows…. and he might… and bless him if he does…

And the same goes when you call the HVAC people, or the insulation contractor. This is not set in stone, but a lot of companies now are ready to help you get another layer of insulation when you call the HVAC company, or the roofing company…

Know what you need by getting professional help and putting a plan in place fitted to your home.  Feel free to ask a question or add an opinion.

Stu Langley

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