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Solving Common Home Problems

Oct 9, 2012

Homes are like people: you’ve got to reckon with a certain degree of wear and tear. And, much like our bodies, there are certain problems that need to be addressed in order to make sure that everything is working properly.

So, we decided to put together a list of some of the most common home problems and their solutions to help you address these issues, thus allowing you to enjoy your home and improve your quality of life. While you may be familiar with many of the problems listed below, what you may not know is how many of them are actually energy efficiency issues. Once more, it puts a spotlight on just how important home energy efficiency really is and how it impacts our daily lives. Solving common home problems is actually easier than you’d think!

  1. Drafty Rooms
    • Possible causes:
      • Cold air leaking into your house around windows, doors, electrical outlets and light fixtures
      • Biggest culprits for leaking air include the attic and recessed lights
    • Solutions:
      • Air sealing is the best solution to the drafty rooms problem. It’s best to contact a RESNET Qualified EnergySmart Contractor for a project like this
      • Also make sure they check out your HVAC system – your filter may need changing
      • If your house has a fireplace, keep the damper closed when not in use
      • Contact a certified RESNET Home Energy Rater for an energy assessment on your home
  2. Moisture on Windows
    • Possible causes:
      • Inefficient windows (e.g., single pane with aluminum frames)
      • Inadequate ventilation combined with high moisture
    • Solutions:
      • Reduce humidity levels in your home by using ventilation fans in the kitchen and bathrooms
      • Make sure your clothes dryer vents directly outside
      • Install storm windows or ENERGY STAR labeled ones
      • Install a shrink film or a polyethylene sheet window insulation if you can’t afford ENERGY STAR labeled windows or storm windows
  3. Cold Floors
    Certain types of flooring are meant to be cold, such as stone, tile or concrete. However, other surfaces where cold floors are a problem include basements, a floor over a garage, and floors over crawlspaces.

    • Possible causes:
      • Insufficient insulation
      • Air infiltration
      • Leaky ducts
    • Solutions:
      • Air sealing
      • Improved insulation
      • Check your HVAC system to make sure it’s functioning properly or if the filter needs changing
      • Contact a certified RESNET Home Energy Rater for an energy assessment on your home
  4. Dry Indoor Air
    Static shocks are one of the things you’ll experience with dry indoor air. In addition, it can contribute to health issues such as dry throat and dry skin.

    • Possible causes:
      • Humidity levels are too low
      • HVAC system not functioning properly
      • Air leakage, which lets warm humid air escape and draws in drier, colder air instead
    • Solutions:
      • Set proper humidity levels in your home (between 30%-50%)
      • Have a RESNET Qualified EnergySmart HVAC Contractor check your system for inefficiencies
      • Get your ductwork checked for leaks
      • Seal all air leaks
  5. Dust
    Dust is one of those common home problems, which is difficult to eliminate completely. However, if you’re suffering from an excess of dust in your home, it could be signs of a problem.

    • Possible causes:
      • Dirty HVAC filter
      • Air leakage or infiltration
    • Solutions:
      • Change the return filter on your HVAC system
      • Make sure your clothes dryer is venting directly outside
      • Seal air leaks to reduce air infiltration
  6. Mold and Mildew Problems
    Mold and mildew are among the most common home problems, and also the most serious. Mold in the house can result in potential wood rot, structural damage, peeling paint and can cause major health problems.

    • Possible causes:
      • Water seeping in from roof leaks, foundation or gaps around windows or doors
      • Water from leaking pipes, toilet, shower or bathtub
      • High indoor humidity caused by normal life, i.e., showering, cooking, drying clothes, etc. (ideal indoor humidity levels should range between 30%-50%)
    • Solutions:
      • Water leaks should be fixed immediately to minimize danger of mold
      • Hire a RESNET qualified roofing contractor to repair roof leaks
      • Water pipe, toilet, bathtub or shower leaks should be repaired by a plumber
      • If mold has set in, hire a certified contractor specializing in mold remediation
      • Reduce humidity by covering dirt floors in crawlspaces with plastic to prevent soil moisture from raising humidity levels
      • Make full use of kitchen and bathroom ventilation fans
      • Make sure air conditioners are sized and fitted properly
      • Seal any air leaks

The list is pretty short and they all relate directly to home energy efficiency. Therefore, by taking steps to make your home more energy efficient right at the start, you’re also solving common home problems. The end result could be a much healthier household and significantly lower energy costs.