Homeowner Now Sees House as a System


“No good deed goes unpunished.” It’s a famous quote by Oscar Wilde and also how Jackie Yerby felt after a home-improvement project in her 1915 craftsman-style house went awry a couple years back.

Jackie moved into the King neighborhood house 10 years ago and has been slowly making improvements to it’s look and energy performance. She’s painted the interior and exterior, added insulation, replaced the back lawn and replaced most of the windows in her house.

Then she hired someone to seal up the house.

“The guy that sealed the house actually created a problem with moisture in the basement,” she said.

“My basement wasn’t breathing. It started feeling mush and I was starting to get worried about mold.”

So Jackie picked up an energy-efficient dehumidifier and started running it 24/7 in the basement. Even though the unit was energy efficient, her electric bill went up $20 a month.

“That was frustrating,” she said. “I did this good thing and now I created this problem.”

There had to be a better solution.

At the annual Better Living Show in Portland, she explained her plight to a representative at Neil Kelly who recommended a whole home energy audit and a look at what Enhabit was offering.

“I knew about the program and I’m not sure why I didn’t tap into it,” Jackie said.

Jackie got busy with work and travel and put off signing up for Enhabit because she thought she didn’t have time to deal with it.

“But when I sat down and did it, it was like seriously ten minutes,” Jackie said. “It was such a straight-forward easy thing to do.”

That ease of use continued through the process, she said.

“I was surprised, once I was ready, how quickly everything went in terms of the approval process and signing the paperwork and scheduling the work with Neil Kelly. They were great to work with.”

During the audit, they discovered the cause for the moisture problem in the basement. There was no barrier between the moist, dirt-floor crawlspace section of the basement and the rest of the house. Previous attempts at sealing the house actually trapped the moisture inside the basement.

Neil Kelly remedied this by pouring concrete in the usable section of the basement and sealing off the crawlspace with a wall and door. The crawlspace was then vented properly to the outside.

Jackie added a heat-pump to the project to combat the 80 degree interior temperatures she faced each summer. She replaced the bathroom fan in the upstairs bathroom. And they blew in more insulation into the walls and ceiling upstairs.

“Basically, I went for all of it,” she said. And she couldn’t be happier.

“My sense after doing Enhabit is that you need to look at the house as an entire system,” she said. “You can’t piecemeal interventions.”