Energy Assessments

ENERGY ASSESSMENTS

Thermal FLIRProfessional energy assessments generally go into great detail to assess your home’s energy use. The energy auditor will do a room-by-room examination of the residence, as well as a thorough examination of past utility bills. Many professional energy assessments will include a blower door test. Most will also include a thermographic scan. There’s also another type of test — the PFT air infiltration measurement technique — but it is rarely offered. Check out the Energy Saver 101 home energy audit infographic to get an idea of what energy auditors look for and the special tools they use to determine where a home is wasting energy.

PREPARING FOR AN ENERGY ASSESSMENT

Before the energy auditor visits your house, make a list of any existing problems such as condensation and uncomfortable or drafty rooms. Have copies or a summary of the home’s yearly energy bills. (Your utility can get these for you.) Auditors use this information to establish what to look for during the audit. The auditor first examines the outside of the home to determine the size of the house and its features (i.e., wall area, number and size of windows). The auditor then will analyze the residents’ behavior:

  • Is anyone home during working hours?
  • What is the average thermostat setting for summer and winter?
  • How many people live here?
  • Is every room in use?

Your answers may help uncover some simple ways to reduce your household’s energy consumption. Walk through your home with the auditors as they work, and ask questions. They may use equipment to detect sources of energy loss, such as blower doors, infrared cameras, furnace efficiency meters, and surface thermometers.

Roofing Lifespans

How long do shingle roofs last in Central Texas? The range could be anywhere from almost no-time-at-all, on up to 50-75+ years. Why such a vague answer? Because there are so many variables involved. However, we’ll break things down so you can see a much more focused picture.

Old Roof 2Roofing shingles are generally flat rectangles that are installed in an overlapping fashion. They are made from a variety of materials, from cedar shakes to quarried slate. You can find slate roofing in Central Texas, but the expense and weight are much greater than the average homeowner can use or afford. For most applications, asphalt shingles and metal shingles are popular choices because they offer the best combinations of durability and affordability. Asphalt provides the least expensive alternative. It is usually the easiest to install and has a useful life of 15-30 years. Metal shingles are more expensive initially, but have a significantly longer life-expectancy, up to 50 years or greater. Next, we’ll explore some of the factors that affect the life of a roof shingle.

Central Texas weather can challenge any kind of roofing material. Hot summers and cold winter snaps take their toll, but the conditions that cause the most concern tend to occur in the “shoulder” seasons of spring and fall. This is when the periodic changes from cold to hot and vice versa see warm weather systems from the south banging into cooler weather from the north. The results of these collisions often lead to major storms that can produce hurricane force winds, flooding rains and baseball-sized hail.

The positioning of your home and slope of your roof will affect the rate of material deterioration you can expect. South facing surfaces will see much greater exposure to the sun, noticeably aging a roof more quickly than surfaces facing other directions. Direct exposure to the sun is more damaging than when the rays hit at an angle, so the slope of your roof is another factor in determining how long your roof will last. Even the color of your roofing material can play a role in its longevity.

Metal shingles tend to last longer than asphalt, but this is another conditional statement. Within each category are differing grades of material. A good asphalt shingle, properly installed, can outlast an inferior grade of metal shingle or one that’s put on in shoddy fashion. This makes it important to choose a reputable roofing company, one that is experienced, licensed and bonded like Berlin Roofs. Whether you decide on asphalt or metal shingles, we will be able to show you the best materials for your budget. We will let you know how many squares (100 sq. ft sections) you will need to cover your roof, along with other essential roofing materials needed. We will explain how to maintain your roof for maximum performance. Call us now for a free roof inspection to see if your roofing is due for replacement.