Businessmen venture down energy audit pathTwo Hudson businessmen decided they wanted to take their careers a different direction and are now operating an area franchise of Pro Energy Consultants.
By: Doug Stohlberg, Hudson Star-Observer
Two Hudson businessmen decided they wanted to take their careers a different direction and are now operating an area franchise of Pro Energy Consultants.
Dan Martens is migrating away from his collection business and Aaron Sundeen from his mortgage banking background.
Last week the pair conducted a home energy audit on the home of April and Bob Simmons, 1031 Second St. They have already conducted a number of audits this fall and have assisted many homeowners in solving energy, home heating and other efficiency problems.
Bob Simmons said he is looking for ways of cutting his heating costs in the mammoth 100-plus year-old home with two furnaces.
“Current heating costs during a cold winter month can run $800 or $900,” Simmons said.
Martens and Sundeen showed up at the home with all the latest equipment, resembling a crew from “Ghostbusters” as they started a fan and read the meters on their various pieces of equipment.
Both men have undergone extensive training for their new positions.
Pro Energy Consultants has been a leader in energy efficiency auditing, energy conservation services and home performance since 1994. Today, the firm is the nation’s largest energy conservation auditing company with franchise locations from coast to coast.
“Every day, homeowners ask us a variety of questions,” Sundeen said. “Why are my energy bills so high? Why can’t I cool this room or heat that room? Would new windows make a difference? Would solar really be a good investment?”
He said it is hard for a homeowner to know where to turn when they have issues.
“Do you call a heating and air conditioning company? An electrician? Your power company?
“Our home energy auditing and home performance business has been built on one very simple idea — that homeowners everywhere have home energy conservation issues that are not easily solved and, more importantly, are not easily assigned to a specific trade,” Sundeen said. “We can get to the bottom of home energy issues.”
For instance, sometimes people put in new windows, but don’t solve the real underlying energy-losing problems in the house.
The Simmons described a variety of issues in their Hudson home, including some rooms that are too hot, some that are too cool, ice dams on the roof and more.
Martens and Sundeen started the process by interviewing the couple. After gathering the couple’s concerns, they connected a fan to suck air from the house. With their equipment and thermo-imaging pictures, they were able to take readings and discover where the air was coming into the home from outside.
“Often the worst spots are the basement and upper level of homes,” Sundeen said. “It’s known as the stacking effect — the house acts like a big chimney. With the air is being sucked out of the home with our fan, we can easily discover where there are openings from outdoors as the air rushes into the home.”
Sundeen used a piece of equipment that resembled a radar gun and was able to get a temperature reading where air was rushing into the home. Martens used a dust pen and released a small residue to show the visual effect of air moving from the outside to the inside.
In the Simmons’ basement, the pair discovered several areas where cold, or hot, air gets into the home.
“One of the critical areas is the band joist (where the house meets the foundation),” Sundeen said. “Another is where pipes and vents go in and out of a home.”
Another tip, seal up all heat venting so that the heat reaches all sections of a home.
“We call it the leaky hose effect,” Sundeen said. “If your hose leaks, you don’t get the full force at the end.”
He recommends Mastic as a simple, inexpensive duct sealant. Also, by sealing the ducts, it helps reduce dust, moisture, allergens and other airborne intruders.
When plugging gaps that allow air into the home, Martens also reminded Simmons that there is a difference between insulation and sealant.
“Insulation slows the flow of air, a sealant stops the flow of air,” Martens said.
When the audit is completed, Martens and Sundeen prepare a 12-page-plus report for the homeowner. It will pinpoint the problem areas and offer suggestions for fixing the problems.
“We recommend solutions that will give the homeowner the most bang for the buck,” Sundeen said. “It is not uncommon to see energy savings in the neighborhood of 30 percent in some homes.”
Martens said Pro Energy Consultants can give homeowners a surefire first step to solving their “hard-to-solve” issues.
“There’s no more guessing,” Martens said.
For information about the company, call (651) 233-2085.