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ECHO Energy LLC :: Olympia Home Performance Contractors
When should I have ECHO Energy come out for an estimate?

Anytime you feel like your winter or summer bills are too high, you have a difference in how your rooms are heating or you have a rodent issue. We provide rodent exclusion measure to make sure they don’t come back and help address/fix the damage they have caused.  Insulation isn’t just for winter and keeping your house warm it’s also wonderful for the summer months as well.  Insulation helps keep your warm/cool air where it belongs: inside your house and not escaping to the outside.  Air sealing also helps address these concerns.  Duct sealing and duct insulation go a long way towards helping the warm air from your furnace stay warm as it travels to the various rooms in your house.  If the ducting in your home has been compromised (rodents, etc) there is a very good chance that you are heating your crawlspace and not just your home.  We also help homeowners who are getting ready to sell.  Address the issues before the inspection and have the confidence in knowing that you are taken care of.

What is a Home Performance Contractor?

A home performance contractor is one that looks at the house as a system.  They use building science principles to understand how the individual systems of the home affect each other.  The first step of any weatherization retrofit is an in depth inspection and test of the structure and systems.  This is to prioritize the benefit of individual measures and anticipate what issues can come from them.  For example, a contractor may air seal an older home without ensuring that there is adequate ventilation.  The original air leakage is what kept the moisture at bay; now that the house is sealed up the moisture can’t get out.  This can cause condensation and mold growth inside the home.  A home performance contractor would have planned to install proper ventilation and considered the impact of that ventilation on the appliances inside the house that burn a fuel.  After every retrofit, a home performance contractor tests the house again to quantify the improvement and ensure that they did not create any safety issues.

Common air leaks in homes


What is air leakage and how does it affect my home?

Air leakage occurs when outside air enters and conditioned air leaves your house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. It is unwise to rely on air leakage for ventilation. During cold or windy weather, too much air may enter the house. When it’s warmer and less windy, not enough air may enter, which can result in poor indoor air quality. Air leakage also contributes to moisture problems that can affect occupant’s health and the structure’s durability. An added benefit is that sealing cracks and openings reduces drafts and cold spots, improving comfort. Caulking, spray foam and weatherstripping are a few simple and effective air-sealing techniques that offer quick energy savings. Caulk is generally used for cracks and openings between stationary components in a home such as around door and window frames, spray foam is used in the attic to close air bypass areas and weatherstripping is used to seal components that move, such as doors and operable windows.

The recommended strategy is to reduce air leakage as much as possible and to provide controlled ventilation as needed.

When should I get an Energy Audit?

The decision to get an energy audit makes sense, saves money, and assures you that you are not wasting time, money or effort as you attempt to improve your home.  An energy audit should be performed before energy efficient upgrades, when indoor air quality is a concern, when remodeling a home or anytime major components of the home are changed.

An energy audit can provide you with a clear path to getting your home more efficient, can save you from wasting money up front, increase your return on investment down the road, and solve those comfort issues you have been living with since you moved in. We work for you. We may do some of the work we recommend, but are not tied to one specific service. We have heard countless times of people spending large amounts of money on high efficiency HVAC systems only to see their utility bills remain about the same. They installed a very efficient system on a very inefficient home. Similarly, just adding insulation to your attic does very little if there are air pathways that allow conditioned air to find its’ way out. An energy auditor finds all these characteristics and tailors a plan for you to follow to make sure that the money you spend on energy efficiency is not wasted.  If you call an HVAC company, they’ll probably try to convince you that you need a new HVAC system. If you call an insulation company…..guess what? So how do we know what our home can best benefit from? What will give us the best return on our investment? Get an energy audit!


How do I prepare my house for an energy audit?

Simple.  During an audit we’re looking at the house as a system, so we will be looking at the whole thing.  Have furniture or storage items that are blocking the accesses to attics or crawlspaces moved so that the auditor can get in there.  Also, a blower door is used for diagnostic purposes.  The blower door can move a lot of air, so fireplaces with ash in them should also be cleaned or covered with wet newspaper/blankets.  We don’t want the ash blown all over!  All of the interior spaces should be able to have the doors open, so have a plan for baby’s naptime or the family pet if you’re worried about them roaming around.

Is thermal imaging like x-ray vision?

No.  Thermal imaging does not allow us to see through surfaces, it allows us to see the difference in temperature across them.  With a blower door running, air moves through all of the gaps and cracks in the home.  If there is a difference in temperature (ie the house is warm and the air is cold), the air will cool the warm materials and we can see where those spots are.   Also if there is no insulation present in one area but not another, we can see cold and hot spots.