Homeowners cut heating costs by 30 percent

| 22 Feb 2012 | 05:06

    Process began with energy audit; payback on $4,000 weatherization is four years Warwick - Bad enough to deal with winter’s ice, snow, and bitter winds outside, but cold drafts sneaking into houses and money escaping into thin air can spur people to action. Two years ago, Jerry and Irene Schacher decided to have an energy audit on their condominium. “We’re retired,” Irene Schacher said, “and we wanted to save money on heating. But we were also concerned about some drafty rooms and about wasting energy.” She called several companies and checked references before hiring EMS of Suffern. The energy audit took less than one day, and the company analyzed the data and then offered three possible remediation plans. EMS did not recommend sealing the drafts around the foundation (a common source of air leaks) because the cost would be high compared to the benefit. Leaks sealed, insulation added Air leaks around windows, doors and electrical outlets and switches were sealed and insulation was added to crawl spaces in the attic. Not only does it feel much warmer in the house, but heating bills have dropped 30 percent, Schacher said. “The savings were easy to calculate,” she said, “because when I compared the January 2009 cost to January 2010 (after the improvements), the average temperature was exactly the same in both months — 28 degrees.” As with any construction project, there were some glitches. At first the machine that blows in insulation wasn’t working correctly and a few problems required equipment the team hadn’t brought. However, Schacher called the team “very motivated. They wanted to be ecologically responsible and to do things right.” After the initial improvements, the team used an infrared camera to find a few leaks that needed extra attention. “And they cleaned up well after themselves,” Schacher added. Cost of the weatherization was $4,000 and the payback time is about four years. The Schachers consider this a good investment, especially since energy prices are expected to rise. They also received tax credits and rebates which offset some of the initial cost. This article was provided by Mary Makofske of the group, Sustainable Warwick.

    Essential information
    At the end of 2010, NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) began to offer an incentive for homeowners, who can receive an energy audit (value about $500) for free.
    Find participating contractors at www.getenergysmart.org and click on “contractors.”
    To find out how to improve home efficiency yourself, go to sustainablewarwick.org and click on “How You Can Help Spread the 10% Challenge,” next to the green footprint.