I get invited into a lot of crawl spaces. One of the lessons I have learned is that people will run dryer vents anywhere and everywhere. The lesson I want to pass on to you is: You should check out your dryer vent to help save electricity. You should also check it out to reduce the chance of fire and to speed up the drying time for each load. The longer the vent, the more bends in the vent, the older the vent, the more likely that there is going to be a problem. I have found vents that were 100% clogged with fibers. I have found vents sagging under the weight of the warm and wet fiber. I have found vents stretching across the entire crawl space.
A dryer vent should be as short as possible, but no more than 35′ long. I would say no more than 12′ long to make it easier to clean in the future. If you check out your vent and there is a clog you should clean it immediately. A dryer can easily cause a fire if not vented as designed.
I went out to do an energy audit at Massanutten yesterday. The home was clearly well maintained. It was 30+ years old, was not showing signs of neglect, and the heat was ON. It was very warm inside just like the homeowners like it. We took a moment to talk about their concerns and I learned they just wanted to make sure the home was in good shape as it pertains to energy efficiency. They told me about adding insulation in various places around the home. They talked about keeping the thermostat higher than normal because they like it warm. The talked about appliances that were a little old and had concerns they might have to replace them.
So it was a normal energy audit. They could probably cut their energy usage by 30% with a few minor changes and I gave them names of people who could help with fixing it. So was it worth my trip out? YES. I found two major issues for them that neither of us expected.
The two major issues we found doing an energy audit:
The second major issue was multiple, more than 6, places in the attic that appeared to either be roof leaks or nests. A more fit energy auditor – like Building Knowledge – would have gotten up in the attic to verify the issue. However, if you call for a free audit from the overweight architect, I will simply give you a name of someone who can climb through the attic scuttle and determine the problem. Either way, they were losing energy through their attic insulation that had been moved away or gotten wet. Fixing this issue and adding a layer of insulation (while plugging the holes causing the problem) will certainly make their home more comfortable and eliminate any uninvited guests from living in their attic.
So, my 1 hour free energy audit gave them a list of things to fix in their home that could lead to a 30% reduction in energy usage, but it also identified roof leaks and squatters. It also hopefully prevented a fire that looked like it was ready to happen. If you want an energy audit, give me a call.