Our purpose on this site is to get homeowners to think more deeply about their home issues and find a critical path from discovery of an issue to assessing the problem and determining the expertise they need to find a solution.
Our purpose ins not only in getting people excited about what they can do to be more comfortable in their homes, more healthy in their home, save money on energy in their homes, but also to avoid all layers of BS and greenwash in the marketplace.
There are several key issues to nail down here. You can help yourself save a lot of money- or you can waste a lot of money if you miss them.
First, your home has a biggest loser.
More precisely, your home has a biggest contributor to your energy losses in your house. It might be air leaks and infiltration into your house- or it might be leakage in your HVAC system. You might have a clue but you don’t know. A home energy rater can help you nail down your priority plus help with a lot of other stuff. More here.
But the point of bringing this up is to underline, that there are a lot of green energy trinkets that you can buy that barely touch the problem if at all. You do not need- a long list of stuff because they do not bear on your really big energy loss issues.
It does not need a whack with a hammer
It also brings up a lot of service people and sales people who only see your situation through the eyes of their service. Not every issue in your home can be solved with your HVAC system- not efficiently that is. You can buy expensive systems that track humidity but if you don’t have a solution to what is causing the humidity- you don’t really have a solution. Now the same system tracking humidity= keeping your homes humidity at 50%- that is sweet…
The issue here is the concept of the guy with the hammer thinking every solution starts with a whack with his hammer. We discuss this problem here.
Now we will run down a list of products that are used to treat symptoms rather than real issues.
What is wrong with treating symptoms rather than root cause?
If your home leaks a lot of air, it is allowing the entry of a lot of moisture because of North Texas himid summers. Now you can identify and comprehensively treat the air leakage problem- dealing with a real issue, or you can buy dehumidifiers which extract moisture from the air of your home. The humidifier is treating the symptom and is not a good investment- because it is a spot remedy when the air leakage is treated as a humidity source, but what about winter when the invading cold air is dry and make the house too dry and you need a humidier… bottom line is, you need to understand the underlying issues- solve them and not wrestle constantly with t he symptoms of the problems.
Which brings us to the onslaught of ads trying to convince you that there product is the perfect solution to symptoms you sense in your home. Paying attention to fundamental building science here will save you money, make you more comfortable and relieve a source of stress.
Lets make a list of worthless products in the Marketplace
Then there are just worthless products. They make up stats that look great. Maybe this product works in some extreme case but not in yours. We have to deal with myths in the marketplace created by companies with a product and a marketing machine where they create disinformation about products that are not true, but allow sellers to make a lot of money putting them in your home.
Some of these are going to sting and I will get push back because these impact wallets and reputations. Nonetheless these products are worthless here in North Texas or the utility of the service is badly abused to make a buck.
Lets pick a fight right off with very expensive IAQ systems.
You can invest thousands of dollars in an expensive combination of UV- HEPA -electrostatic solutions, yet if you have not addressed an unhealthy moldy crawlspace -LInK- or addressed air leaking issues bringing allowing the entry of too much moisture, or if the remainder of your HVAC system is not effectively moving air, well you do not have a real solution. It always makes sense to look at the house as a system and see all parts of it through home performance eyes. Otherwise you can buy stuff that doesn’t solve the problem.
Radiant Barriers in North Texas are worthless unless you are a chicken
Radiant barriers in North Texas are worthless unless you are a chicken without air conditioning living in an outside building. In your attic, they are near worthless. It doesn’t matter if you buy the paint or get an elaborate setup of sheet metal added under the rafters. Worthless not worth the money.
Now let me quality these remarks a bit. If you are getting a new roof put on, or the roof deck modified, it makes sense to add a radiant barrier now, because it is no extra step, no risky venture into the attic.
But money on a radiant barrier in an existing attic in North Texas, would be much better used to treat the largest contributor in your home to your real energy losses instead. I beat up on radiant barriers a lot. here and elsewhere.
Industry energy experts beat up on them. Martin Holladay does it here. Allison Bailes does it here. Why do so many people believe radiant barriers work? Why do so many service companies tout radiant barriers? I leave you with that subversive question.
Air Freshening Systems are not only worthless but dangerous
We briefly discuss air fresheners here but also air fresheners mask smell issues that are trying to tell you, you have a root cause problem. Air fresheners actually are allergenic to a great many people and pets. Pets can have allergies too. So next time you see the husband hugging the wife for spraying the house with a chemically created odor, realize 1.it is an ad and 2. it is BS.
Duct cleaning fits right in here too. LINK
Deep vacuuming to get rid of mite turds is chasing symptoms- or ghost turds… any real mite issues revolve or are treatable with moisture control. Moisture issues are the root problem… LINK
Buying junk solutions creates a double liability
You can end up paying twice for wrong choices. You buy the bauble now. It is worthless. You go to sell your house and it is evaluated for its energy efficiency and you get no credit for the bauble but you also get dinged for poor energy efficiency. Lack of energy efficiency is becoming more ao buying and home value issue all the time. Someday homes will be energy rated before they are sold, or the documentation of professional energy services will be evaluated like a pedigree. And do inefficient homes will be downgraded in the market- people will turn their nose up like homes with only one bathroom now. This is called functional obsolescence. The concept has been around for ages. It impacted homes which did not have HVAC over the decades. It impacted homes without indoor plumbing. Energy efficiency is good for you. Ignoring energy efficiency is bad for your wallet.
It pays to pay attention to the investments you make in your home. It will inpact your comfort, maybe even the health of your home, and your future wealth.
Any thoughts- any comments are welcome.
- home as a system
- keeping people from messing stuff up
- understanding the long term value of a home in the marketplace – functional obsolescence
- this relates to at-risk home i.e. problem home…
- there are also a couple related posts on cheap pricing etc.
there is s wide aspect to this
portable air cleaners portable dehumidifiers, keep collecting these. maybe encourage readers to add the items they have seen…. ionizers…