How do I prepare for an EnerGuide home evaluation?
Below is a description of the EnerGuide home evaluation process and a checklist for ensuring your home meets the required conditions to have an evaluation.
The Key Steps in the EnerGuide Home Evaluation
- The EnerGuide evaluation is carried out by an energy advisor who is registered with Natural Resources Canada and is a representative of the service organization you contacted to book your evaluation. Your energy advisor will arrive at your home on the date and time you’ve arranged. If you need to cancel or reschedule your evaluation time, be sure to contact the service organization or your registered energy advisor directly.
- Before the energy advisor arrives, if you have a wood-burning appliance, please remove any ashes from the fireplace/appliance so that they are not drawn into the house during the blower door test. Also, please clear access to any hard-to-reach areas that the service organization or energy advisor has indicated are important in your pre-evaluation telephone call or email communications.
- The energy advisor will have a homeowner consent form for you, the Notice to Homeowner. Read, understand and, if you are comfortable with the terms, sign the form which is required to authorize the evaluation to take place.
- Before getting started, the energy advisor will review the scope, intent and approximate duration of the evaluation, along with the general data collection process. All data and photos collected during the evaluation are strictly protected within the guidelines of all applicable privacy legislation. Photos will be taken of the outside portion of your home, its mechanical systems, the attic space and any wood-burning appliances, if present. These photos are for record keeping and quality assurance purposes only. One photo will be taken of the front of your house to appear in your customized report.
- If you’ve arranged for a pre-retrofit EnerGuide home evaluation, you and your energy advisor can discuss any plans and priorities you may have relating to energy efficiency upgrades to your home.
- If you are interested, the energy advisor will explain tools that are required to complete the evaluation, including the blower door testing equipment that is used to determine the airtightness of your home. If you have questions about any aspect of the evaluation, discuss these with your energy advisor.
- The evaluation often begins at the exterior of your home and then moves on to the interior. The energy advisor will measure and collect data about all of the elements of your home that impact its energy performance and then enter that data into an energy simulation software program that calculates your home’s EnerGuide rating. The data collected includes:
- the level of your home’s airtightness, using a blower door test;
- the insulation levels of your walls, ceilings and basement;
- the number, type and location of all windows and exterior doors;
- the size and efficiency ratings of your space heating, space cooling (air conditioning) and water heating equipment;
- information about any ventilation equipment; and
- any other information relevant to your home’s energy performance.
- The energy advisor will confirm the locations of attic, basement/crawl space accesses, mechanical equipment, etc. with you in the course of the evaluation. If clear access has not been provided in advance, they may request that you assist in providing safe and unobstructed access to these areas.
- If you have fuel-fired space heating or water heating systems, the space heating system will need to be turned down or turned off and the fuel-fired water heating system will need to be turned down to avoid the firing of the equipment during the blower door test. This is because the blower door fan could impact the proper operation of your gas appliances and cause safety issues during the evaluation. All equipment will be returned to pre-evaluation settings at the end of the test;
- Please don’t attempt to use your fuel-fired space heating or water heating appliances during the blower door test. For example, please refrain from turning up your furnace thermostat, taking a bath or showering, running the dishwasher or using your clothes washing machine.
- During the evaluation, please don’t use any wood-fired or other solid-fuel fired appliances in your home.
- Once the evaluation is complete, your energy advisor may discuss with you any related program information, potentially including survey requests. Feel free to ask any questions you have of your energy advisor. If they don’t have certain answers, they can point you in the right direction or follow up with you later.
- Before wrapping up, the energy advisor will confirm all relevant information required as part of their data collection. The following are required items you can prepare in advance of the evaluation:
- Your municipal property tax roll number to confirm ownership of the home;
- If appropriate, all paid invoices and receipts for goods and services related to your energy efficiency upgrades. These would be necessary if you are participating in a rebate or incentive program that includes a post-upgrade evaluation and requires evidence of the upgrades you’ve undertaken.
Preparing Your Home – Required Conditions Checklist
In order for the EnerGuide evaluation to be conducted, the following conditions must exist in your home:
- Access: Your energy advisor must have a clear, unobstructed path to your attic(s), crawl space(s), mechanical equipment and other hard-to-reach areas. If you are uncertain about what the energy advisor will need to access, you can speak to your service organization in advance of your home evaluation to explain your home’s layout and receive specific instructions.
- Heating: At a minimum, your home must have a space heating system in place at the time of the evaluation and it must be (or have been in the case of heating system failure) capable of keeping the interior living space at 22 degrees Celsius, even if that’s not the temperature to which you normally heat your home.
- Windows & Doors: Be sure all windows and doors throughout your home are closed properly to ensure maximum accuracy of the blower door test. Your home must have all windows and doors in place. However, a maximum of one window or door can be missing as long as it is temporarily covered and air sealed. Any broken window panes must be air sealed with materials such as taped polyethylene for the duration of the blower door test.
- Envelope: If any temporarily air sealed location fails during the blower door test, your home will not be able to be evaluated. The building envelope, which includes ceilings directly below the roof and attic spaces, exterior walls, exposed floors, windows and doors must be intact, including the interior and exterior surfaces. If the exterior finish of the house is not intact, the evaluation cannot be performed and the energy advisor will note this detail in the data collected. Any renovations underway in rooms or sections of the house can only affect interior partitions and not perforate the building envelope.
- Foundation: Your home must rest on its permanent foundation or be a permanently moored float home.
- Power: There must be a supply of standard AC electrical power available in order to operate the blower door test equipment. If power is not available from a utility, you will need to arrange for a suitable power supply and inform the service organization of this situation.
- Water and Sewer: Potable water must be supplied by the municipality or from private sources such as wells or cistern systems. Sewer service must be provided by the municipality, a private septic system or a holding tank (outhouses and bio-toilets are permissible as toilets);
- Operating Kitchen: there must be a kitchen space that includes a sink, operating stove (no portable devices) and a minimum of six square feet (0.5 square metres) of counter space or evidence of future intent to install a permanent counter (not just a kitchen table).
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