It is probably safe to say that many, if not most, people have never heard the term “home performance evaluation.” Yet it is self-explanatory, being exactly what it sounds like. It is an assessment of your home’s performance in key areas such as efficiency, safety, comfort, health, and durability.
After such an evaluation, you’re armed with the tools to make your home function even better for you—how you can lower utility bills, for example, or use a rebate to help with home energy improvements.
The efficiency area of a home performance evaluation is about pinpointing these small changes that can make a big difference. For example, installing one fan or several can help greatly with air flow and air conditioning. Similarly, keeping the home just a few degrees higher or lower could lead to more energy efficiency, and getting a better seal for the refrigerator door helps ensure that your home’s top user of energy isn’t draining resources unnecessarily.
There are many things that can make your home less than reliable. A common scenario is lack of insulation, which can cause ice on your roof during winter. Moreover, that ice could dam into a ridge that causes water backups when snow melts. The water then could spread into the house and damage ceilings, walls, and other areas. Another common scenario is a home that has moisture issues that weaken the home’s structure and framing.
Your home can promote or harm your health in ways that are obvious and not so obvious. One common example of the obvious is the presence of mold. It can be caused by a water leak, high humidity, or condensation, and may be a huge problem throughout the house or contained to one space or room.
Air quality may be a less obvious example. After all, people tend to associate air pollution with the outdoors, not the indoors. Still, there is no denying that good air quality in your home helps you breathe better. Bad quality can have many causes, including pet dander, dust, grime, and viruses.
Homes should be safe places for their residents and guests. To that end, an evaluation tends to look for places where carbon monoxide could occur (appliances that backdraft, for example) and whether smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in optimal places, among other safety issues.
Homes should be comfortable as well, and many of the above issues combine to promote or compromise your comfort. Take a type of lighting that makes summers overly hot, or a room that is drafty for a reason you cannot pinpoint. Perhaps there’s an area of the house that is especially noisy at night. A home performance evaluation can help identify these issues and others. Your home should be a sanctuary, not a place you escape from or dread returning to after work or school.
The Overall Picture
Many HVAC companies can do an evaluation, although not every company can or will touch on everything mentioned above. A big focus tends to be on energy use—where your home is using energy well and where it isn’t. Areas looked at include attic insulation, ductwork, water heating, and barriers, among others. The net result could be significant savings each month on your utility bills, and when indoor air quality is tested, a boost in your quality of life.
After an evaluation is done, you should be presented with a report as well as an in-person talk discussing problem issues and how they can be tackled. Often, the company that performed the inspection is able and willing to do the troubleshooting. It should also be able to help you identify rebates and other areas for cost savings.