Whatever path you have come from on this website, and we talk about all kinds of comfort issues- you finally get down to who does it make sense to call for help. This page is going to discuss this issue through basically two paths. I hope you have found who you want to call with help from this website, but we will try to clear up things for you, if you are still deciding.
There are basically two paths forward from here. In the end you will see that both paths are the same circle but each just starts in a different place. It is up to you to make sure your chosen one completes the circle to your expectations and leaves you where you want to be. We will explore these two paths around the circle separately
When you are concerned about a comfort issue, or a health issue with your home- odd smells or a hint of mildew- or any energy efficiency issue with your home, you are converging on the expertise of the Home Energy Auditor. He will use a blower door to measure air leakage and use thermal imaging to look for moisture in walls and other places where it should not be. These areas can then be tested physically to confirm and address any mold issues created by moisture. Fans in bathrooms and kitchens can be ineffective. An auditor will look for and offer solutions for problems with fans dumping moisture where it does not belong.
The list of potential issues here is long and your well trained and experienced Home energy rater can track these down and help you head off problems with solutions that work. The HERS energy rater does not do the work. They help you find the right contractor to do the work. That is in the ethics code for RESNET.
Home energy raters also test ducts for leakage and balance. Some of them even do load calculations for sizing new units in home and replacement units in existing homes. They do the loading calculations for your home as part of an energy efficiency upgrade related to a HERS rating and a plan to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
It just makes sense to upgrade your home to capture all the best ways to save energy and then do any replacement of existing HVAC systems to match the new load. You can save money, you can do serious redesign and take advantage of the lowered loading. We covered HERS ratings and the HERS index in detail here. You might have missed that.
There are also a lot of other services provided by HERS raters for your home. Here we are delimiting the home energy audit. They also look at combustion issues and do HERS index profiles for energy efficiency loans. Make sure you see this info .. all the aspects of what energy raters do are talked about here. What Does an Energy Auditor Do and How Can They Help You?
We talk a lot about energy raters on this website. I want to make sure you are not confused by terminology
Now let’s look at the HVAC side of this path to comfort
We certainly depend on our trusted HVAC service
When you have a mechanical issue with your HVAC or you know it needs regular maintenance (they call you if you have a maintenance contract with them)… more on maintenance issues here… you call your HVAC service company. These pieces of equipment are marvels of engineering and work hard in a moist, inhospitable to mechanical devices- environment. Things do go wrong. HVAC systems need tune-ups, need to be tested for proper operation within manufacturer’s parameters, and they just need inspection and cleaning, for reliable operation. You probably need a HVAC maintenance agreement and need to consider it before the cool give out… and so the HVAC technician comes out and looks over your system and does what is needed.
But now back to the circular path of service for Comfort Issues….
Potential defects with the mechanical system which we discuss in depth here are in the bailiwick of the HVAC service technician and the HVAC service company he works for.
The practice of HVAC is changing. The ACCA – the Air Conditioning Contractors of America have clear guidelines for testing ducts, and sizing equipment to match the cooling and heating load in your home. This goes under the term home performance which is a confusing name for us regular folks- what is the home going to perform? Home performance means all the components of the house working effectively together to provide comfort and energy efficiency. Home performance is discussed here, and another useful term is Home as a system is discussed. here.
BUT BUT BUT BUT
not all HVAC contractors have come on board with this new view of the science of Home construction and mechanical systems. Here is a great example. traditionally, if a an HVAC contractor heard you say you had a comfort issue, he would just plan for you to have a bigger AC. This is not a solution. In fact, too big is a problem in itself. Make sure you see our list of HVAC mythology, for your own protection.
Traditionally, when you complained about a humidity problem in summer, he would bring you a dehumidifier as a solution. This is no longer true. Humidity is understood as an issue around air leaks and duct issues and has to be solved with fundamental structural solutions before you start talking about the ability to dehumidify better.
You just need to make sure you find an HVAC contractor who is enlightened. Who need to find an HVAC contractor who has moved away from rule of thumb decisions because they have always worked before; to being on the leading edge of positive change in the industry- determining heat load and cooling load and solar load after the house has been upgraded with practical attention to air leaks, and insulation and solar gain control. They you go back to the design and implementation process as outlined and fostered by the ACCA, by NATE and by ASHRAE …
We go into a lot more details about what smart HVAC Service Companies and quality HVAC technicians can do for you here.
So whom should you call? Call your choice and then have a conversation to confirm. your choice. If you find a quality HVAC contractor or an experienced and conscientious HERS rater, you will do fine.
Just make sure you have a clear understanding yourself of
- the structural issues that relate to too hot and too cold.
- the humidity issues related to air leaks.
- away and wary of sothing just does not feel right in your home
- the issues with solar gain and discomfort.
- the issues with a remodel or a new bonus room
- the potential issues with defects in the mechanical system
- the relation of humidity and moisture to sick homes and your health.
When you grasp these issues and have an inkling about the underlying fundamentals that can cause these issues, you will find the right person and you will hear that the discordant notes of those you want to bypass.
Another Critical Question is when to call?
Unless you are in an emergency situation, be proactive, know what is coming and call early and head off issues. With HVAC systems for sure, so many people make major buying decisions while they wait for the cool to come back. There is a better time and we talk about that here.
Any thoughts any questions speak up.