Category Archives: energy code

Duct Blaster & Blower Door Testing for New Homes – WA State Energy Code

AMS Inspection Services provides duct blaster and blower door tests to the greater Wenatchee area for the purpose of testing HVAC and home air leakage.  The new Washington State Energy Code requires third-party testing to ensure that contractors meet the minimum requirements of the air leakage test in order to pass the energy code requirements.  Watch this video from the “Energy Experts” at WSU Extension to learn where air leaks from your home.  It may not seem so obvious.

 

Air Sealing, Chapter 3: New Homes from Energy Experts on Vimeo.

Blower Door, Duct Blaster & HVAC Testing Services in Wenatchee

blower door test Wenatchee, Chelan, Leavenworth

Wenatchee HVAC Testing:  AMS Inspection Services is now offering duct blaster and blower door testing services in response to the requirements for  Washington State Energy Code. New construction homes must be tested by third-party technicians to ensure the HVAC and envelop sealing performs up to the new standards. We have two Energy Star Performance Technicians on staff and ready to help with your projects.  Ask us about a multiple home discount!

Reposted from:  Introducing Blower Door, Duct Blaster & HVAC Testing Services in Wenatchee.

Wenatchee Real Estate Outlook 2011 (4 of 5)

Guest writer, Rebecca Darley

As the manager of a Wenatchee home inspection company I attend many local real estate events to stay informed of the latest industry news and developments.  On May 19, 2011, the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted a discussion panel called “2011 Real Estate Outlook.” This blog entry along with the other 4 entries will summarize the panel discussions of each speaker including a loan officer, appraiser, commercial real estate broker, builder and residential real estate broker.

Previous Entries:

Randy Gold is the owner of Gold Construction and has 26 years of experience in the building industry.  Gold Construction won two awards in 2002: the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) Washington State Builder of the Year and Wenatchee Business Journal Reader’s Choice Award for Best Builder. He was the founding President of the local Home Builders Association (NCHBA) and the 2003 President of the BIAW, the largest trade association in Washington State.  He moved to Wenatchee from San Diego in the early 1980’s.

Randy started his discussion with a look back to the building industry cycles of the preceding decades.  In the 1970’s the interest rates averaged 10%.  In the early 1980’s the interest rates escalated to an astonishing 19%.  Randy commented that he was trying to build anything that he could “from fences to dog houses” to make ends meet.  In the 1990’s he started building spec homes and was doing really well.  As that decade ended the demand fell and he was stuck with 2 -3 spec homes on the market for two years.  In 2000 he decided to focus on high-end custom homes and was feeling like he had figured out the industry when the bottom fell out in 2008.  He says “this is longest downturn I’ve ever seen.”  Everyone on the panel agreed that they’ve experienced slow and hard times in our real estate market but the fallout of 2008 is taking a long time to sort out.

Randy believes that bargain hunting, longer processing periods, low offers and desperate sellers accepting lowball offers are all factors contributing to the decrease in home values.  He has already sold one spec home for less than it cost to build. 

He predicts a huge epidemic will surface once the new construction demand returns.  Many mills and plants closed and skilled workers found other jobs due to lack of demand in construction.  Randy believes that building material costs will skyrocket and construction lag time will increase while a shortage in building materials and skilled workers will have to be figured out.  He agreed with the other panelists that this is the best time to buy.  New regulations and requirements from building codes will increase the cost of building as well.  He believes that interest in remodeling will increase due to everyone’s equity being tied up in their home.

Wenatchee Area Builder Association Talks About Code

 A couple of weeks ago we posted information about Washington State’s new HVAC requirement.   We are members of the local North Central Home Builders Association and along with the BIAW they are frustrated with the adoption of this new code and fear that it will cost contractors time and money to meet the new requirements.  Read the summary below written by NCHBA.

“On February 7th, Judge Robert Bryan of the Federal District Court in Tacoma denied BIAW’s Motion for Summary Judgment and Granted the State Building Code Council’s Motion for Summary Judgment. The Judge issued a lengthy opinion, finding that Chapter 9 of Washington’s Energy Code was not preempted by Federal Law, even though it concerns the use of components that exceed federal standards…The Federal law states that credits under state energy codes must be on a one-to-one ratio to energy savings. In other words, a one point credit for installing a high efficiency furnace under Chapter 9 must equal the same amount of energy savings as the one point credit for building a house under 1,500 square feet…BIAW is appealing the ruling.”

WA State Energy Code’s New HVAC Requirement

This week one of our staff went to a WSU Extension Energy Program training in Wenatchee with a focus on duct sealing and testing requirements for the 2009 Washington State Energy Code for HVAC: 503.10.3 Sealing. We have two Energy Star Performance Technicians on staff so this class was more of a refresher course on duct testing but we did benefit from understanding more about the changes to the new HVAC requirements. Basically, the code is in a trial period. Contractors must test the HVAC now but do not have to meet the target rate of allowable leakage during this 120-day testing period. In April 2011 a judicial committee will listen to arguments from all sides and make a decision about the 503.10.3 Sealing WA State Energy Code.

We performed a HVAC leakage test on a home in South Wenatchee. The new construction home performed well. It would have passed the new requirements. It was interesting to note the small leakages that could be easily fixed by mastic. The equipment used for testing the HVAC includes a duct blaster, manometer and blower door which could add up to $5,000. This is a new expense to contractors. There is also discussion about requiring third party testing due to conflict of interest. Should HVAC contractors be able to test their own work?

 Here are a few interesting facts we learned in class this week. Did you know that 40% of a home’s fresh air comes from the crawl space or garage? Thinking about cleaning those spaces right now…aren’t you!? This is also a good time to remind you to open your garage door any time the car is on. A family of four can emit up to 3 gallons of water into a home daily from sweating, showering, cooking, etc. Where do the 12 gallons of water go? Be sure to use your oven and bathroom exhaust fans regularly!

Home Show in Wenatchee: Feb. 11-13th

Home Show Wenatchee Town Toyota CenterEvery year the NCHBA or North Central Home Builders Association produces a spectacular home show in Wenatchee, Washington.  There’s a little something for everyone whether you are interested in remodeling, decorating, building, buying or selling a home…they’ve got all the experts there for your questions!  Here’s some info from their website.  Download this COUPON for $1 off admission:

This year, we have a lot of new things going on and are very excited to “get the Show on the road”! The Kid’s Zone by Lowe’s is going to be fantastic this year. Not only will the kids be able to build their own project with a professional from Lowe’s, they can go on a scavenger hunt with their parents or enjoy FREE ice skating on Friday and Saturday. So, if you have kids that are 12 and under, make sure to take them to the Kids Zone by Lowe’s, located in the Crunch-Pak Hospitality Room on the the main floor of the Town Toyota Center!  Workshops and How-to’s that you WON’T want to miss! Come and see what the Master Gardeners have to demonstrate on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the show!   Be one of the first 250 attendees on Saturday and Sunday and receive a special Home Show Entrance Bag! These bags will be filled with small gifts, specials and discount coupons from participating sponsors and vendors! These bags will also come in very handy when you need a place to stow away other information and items you gather!  There will be additional event parking available for attendees across the street at Walla Walla Point Park, both parking lots, as well as at Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse. Many thanks to Lowe’s for generously allowing our Home Show attendees to use half of their parking lot for our event!

Heating & Cooling: Is it time for an upgrade?

There are plenty of ways to heat and cool a home: natural gas, pellet, oil, electric, propane, wood, coal, solar, hydronic, evaporative, absorption, radiant, and many others. Older systems may not be as efficient as newer ones. Either they have been poorly maintained or have run their course. Faulty heating and cooling systems could be the cause of serious safety or health issues. Upgrading to a new system can be quite an investment, but you’ll realize gains in your energy savings. In Seattle you may not need a central cooling system but in Wenatchee you’ll definitely be glad you had air conditioning during July. When you decide to upgrade check out the US Department of Energy’s website. They have some really helpful information about sizing your system, average BTU, fuel types, costs, etc.  If you’re concerned about your current heating and/or cooling system, give AMS a call for a maintenance home inspection.  We’ll give you a professional opinion.