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Energy Audits

This weeks blog is about energy audits. I am not going to bore you with the formulas used to calculate how your kilowatts used is billed by the electrical company. I am going to excite you to explain how to save money on your electric bill and certain ideas to keep a few pennies in your pocket. So lets begin.

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On a recent inspection in Webster Florida we had a client asking about how to lower the electric bill. The first way is to check the insulation in your attic as heat loss and cold air will be a big factor. But she went on and stated that the insulation was not the problem. What she was referring to was that from one year ago til that day she knew she used less electric as certain appliances and devices weren’t being energized but got the same bill. This is what brought about this blog and how we assisted her to find out what was going on in the home.

There are several types of ways to perform an energy audit. You have the blower door type, you can have assessment from the electrical company to analayize your electric bill then you have what we did. We did an assessment of her kilowatts used in the past 12 months. They usage was about the same per month. However, our client insisted that certain devices and appliances were not being used as she was traveling and turned off certain ones. This is what really brought “the raised eyebrow” If you are being billed a similar amount but using less electric yes the bill should be lower. So here is what we did.

First thing we did was to make sure that the panel box had no double taps. Maybe a neighbor had tapped into their electric box. (Could happen since they are on the exterior.) Then we turned on the appliances. The dishwasher, heat-pump, let hot water in the shower run for 20 minutes so the elements on the new hot-water heater were energized and the well pump was pumping water.  We turned on the oven and stove to assimilate we were cooking. (we did make coffee)  Then had all the lights on with ceiling fans going. And finally lowered the temperatures on the refrigerator and chest freezer to engage the compressors to turn on. Now keep in mind we did check the windows to make sure there was no heat loss. The windows were energy efficient and installed correctly. We even used an infrared camera to determine if there was any difference in temperatures. And for the most part they were fine. So, what is causing this issue.

As the appliances were in full energized mode we went to each one and checked electrical connections, insulation, and checked any electrical components. So first we checked the hot-water tank. That was performing perfectly. Then went down the list of the above mentioned appliances. And here is where it got interesting.

When we checked the loads and amps being used we found 3 aging appliances. We found that the chess freezer was over 12 years old. The gasket on the door was in its bonus life. This could affect the appliance to work more as it is loosing cold air. Then moving forward we checked the fans, the heat-pump and the oven. All working perfectly. So as we are nearing the end of the audit the last appliance we tested was the well pump, faucets and hose bibs. And here is where we found the culprit making the electrical bill high. The hose bibs on the side of the home were dripping. Just enough for the well pump to engage. Then checking the load on the well pump we found that the motor was engaging high amperage. To the point that the breaker did not trip as it was an incorrect breaker installed. The wingdings in the motor were winding faster and drawing more amperage then recommended. And with the incorrect breaker the breaker did not trip. And this would make the electric bill high.

So, in closing we found that that freezer gasket needed to be replaced as this could allow cold air to escape and which would engage the compressor to come on more then it should. The hose bibs were leaking enough for the well pump to engage and the well pump motor using more amperage then it should. Now keep in mind the home owners were traveling so alot of the devices were not energized but the major components were being worked more and defective. This audit assisted the home owner to know how to get the correct repairs and safety devices replaced.

If you feel that your energy bill maybe high let us perform an energy audit on your home. For a minor fee it could save you more then you realize. We perform this type of service in Hernando, Clearwater, Lakeland and Land O Lakes Florida all the time and have helped home owners save on their electric bill. For more information feel free to call us anytime at 352-322-2700 or look us up at http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com  Thank You.

Mobile Home Inspections

Hello everyone. This weeks blog is about mobile home inspections. We did a blog about this a year or so ago and wanted to re-visit this because people have the perception that its not needed. So lets begin.

A mobile home inspection is very similar to our general home inspection. There are a few differences though. First the crawl space has to be inspected. This is a must. In the crawl space you will see a lot of deficiencies guaranteed. For example there will be electrical lines not in conduit. Plumbing pipes will be there, so to see if there is a leak on drain or the main service. My favorite is the main service water line is never insulated. Also you have the vapor barrier. If there was a previous leak a lot of times the vapor barrier will be open and insulation will be dangling.  This is just a small portion of the deficiencies you may find.

Now, you also have the roof and inside that has to be inspected. On double and triple wides you have a “marriage wall”. This is where each portion is tide together. And you wanna make sure there is no leaks. (we use an infrared camera).  So your inspector needs to know where to look and inspect. Also you have a data tag. For mobile homes this is the identification number for each portion. Singles have one tag, doubles have 2 and so on.

Then you have the remaining part of the inspection which is room to room and utilities. A lot of times the panel box inside the home is energized by the main disconnect at the meter. Your main shut-off valve for the water is at the meter but you also have a valve in the crawl space about 6’0 before the water enters the home too.

So you may be thinking OK, this is easy. No its not. A true inspector will have to undergo some extreme conditions to inspect the home properly. Crawl space usually has varmints or water, the roof is hot and need to know where to walk, the main disconnect can have insects inside the box. The reason I mention this is because these are 3 areas of major concern about the mobile home and are usually neglected.

So if you are thinking about buying a mobile or modular home think about these things. You want an experienced inspector that will do, due deligience. We take pride in these type of inspections as this is a major investment for a home owner. We provide mobile home inspections in Clermont, Ocala, Largo, and Winter Haven Florida to name a few communities. We will gladly inspect in the State Of Florida.  Feel free to call us or look us up on the web: 352-322-2700 or www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or www.tampahomeinspectors.net

Infrared Thermography

If you have been following our feeds on social media, lately we have been posting about infrared thermography. This is not some word we made up for new social media phase. This is actually a technology that some home inspectors will agree on that it is a must needed tool and some will say its a waste of money. We have spent time on research and have found that this gives the client a much clearer reference point and better reporting then using other tools. So this blog will explain a bit more of infrared thermography and why client’s should ask about it. So lets begin.

Infrared technology has been around for several years. The military and medical field has used it for many years. From night vision glasses to examining a limb on the body. The different type of equipment can range from $150.00 to thousands of dollars. But for home inspectors doing a one type reporting few times a week it has to be economical and clearly able to explain to the client of what they are reporting and difference between moisture being present and insulation in the wall. The different type of cameras will go from showing a small moisture area in side the wall cavity, for example to being able to determine heat loss from lack of insulation. The inspector has to be trained and certified in infrared. Without the certification, the inspector has a very expansive gadget and a lot of times may report a finding incorrectly. For example; “Emmittance” which means a measure of how much heat a material will radiate as a material cools down. Or my favorite Thermal Imagery. This term only means that property of an object that describes its ability to absorb and radiate heat. So while doing a spot target picture. The wall may show inside the wall cavity at 115 degrees Fahrenheit. OK, that’s the temperature but where does that figure come from. That is up to the trained inspector to determine.

Its not rocket science to determine these images. The biggest thing is knowing your tools. Some cameras are great for showing if electrical components are going to fail. Some will give more precise detail and there are the ones that will just tell temperature. And here is a thought. Chef’s even use these now instead of the old fashioned temperature probe. So as you can see this technology has been modernized for various types of trades. Keep in mind a chef is not going be able to determine what the factor of a leak is or issues in a wall cavity. Nor is a home inspector using infrared technology determine the diagnosis of a broken arm with the camera as well.

So in closing, why are we adding this service. Several reasons. One we want to be ahead of the competition. Secondly, we want to be able to have a various of avenues of clients that can call on us. A small apartment complex just last week in #Brandon Florida reached out to us because of moisture intrusion. We were able to provide a synopsis and detailed report with clarity to explain the scope of work that should take place to repair this issue.

We provide this type of service as many others throughout the Tampa, Brooksville, Lakeland and Clearwater Florida areas. And many more. This type of service can be added as an ancillary service or as the general purpose of the service. For more information, please visit us on the web at: www.emeraldinspectionservice.com Or call us anytime at; 352-322-2700.

As a footnote, I would like to add to this blog. That 9/11 is upon us. Please take a moment of silence to remember those in New York City, The Pentagon in Virginia and Shankesville Pennsylvania for those who were killed in the horrible terrorist acts. May we never forget that day and may one day we end the fight against terror by defeating our enemies foreign and domestic.

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