With kittens named Guitara, Banjo, Mandalyn and Fiddle, you could say Ashland homeowners Eliza and Brad Kauder are passionate about music. So hearing glass shatter instead of bluegrass was a serious wake-up call. One of the original floor-to-ceiling, double-pane windows in their 1980s ranch house had fallen out of its sash, crashing down and sending shards of glass everywhere. Worried that more falling glass could harm their two dogs, one cat and eight foster kittens, they nailed some of the windows shut.
Stuffy summers and plunging winters
“It was uncomfortable because we could not open half the windows in the house,” Eliza Kauder said. Despite central air conditioning, the house was harder to cool in the summer. In the winter, the house was losing two degrees of heat per hour, even though they have a high-efficiency heating system. So when Eliza noticed an Enhabit brochure at the grocery store last summer, she called.
More wake-up calls
Enhabit contractor All Phase Weatherization conducted the 100 Point Performance Check, a comprehensive energy efficiency and safety test of home performance, and more issues surfaced. The house “leaked like a sieve,” vents in the bathroom were “horrible,” a kinked vent made the dryer work overtime, and fiberglass ductwork under the house was breaking down. “It’s not a good thing to have fiberglass. It holds onto dust and pollens,” Eliza said. The Kauders, who are both asthmatic, diligently keep the house clean with all the animals, but were unaware that the breathing environment inside their home was unhealthy.
Easier breezes and breathing
Since the Kauder’s house already had a high-efficiency gas furnace and air conditioner, All Phase Weatherization focused mostly on windows and infrastructure upgrades. Replacing six double-pane windows with triple-pane, two sliding glass doors and a new front door with energy efficient ones improved the look and feel of the house. The new windows “brightened up the house” and can now be opened, which Eliza considers a definite bonus. The windows have a reflective element on the outside, so the house wasn’t heating up as quickly in the summer. After the contractors removed and replaced the fiberglass insulation with R-50 insulation, Eliza noticed a difference right away. “The house smells better, that’s for sure,” she said. They also installed new ductwork and sealed the attic and crawl space.
Positive experience all around
“We’re very happy,” she said. All Phase Weatherization was “terrific,” cleaning up after their work and adjusting their noise level when Eliza was on work calls. Brad is thrilled the heat and moisture is controlled in his music room. “If you talk to the dogs, they’d tell you they like it, too,” she said.
Ready for the long haul
All Phase Weatherization predicted that with energy improvements, the Kauders could reduce their energy cost by 58%. In the summer, Eliza noticed the air conditioner wasn’t cutting on as much as before. Although it’s too early to tell what the impact will be in the winter, she noticed the house hasn’t been losing heat as quickly. “It’s much more comfortable,” she said. “It’s perfect to retire in. We’re going to keep the energy cost under control.”
Home Performance Upgrades:
- New triple-pane windows
- New energy efficient sliding glass doors and front door
- R-50 insulation
- Attic and crawl space sealing
- Duct sealing
- Estimated 58% reduction in gas and electric usage
- Healthier ventilation
- Better temperature control
- Improved year-round comfort