Improve your home, the Whole House way.

Are you planning upgrades to improve your home’s performance? The Whole House approach can help you choose the most beneficial projects. It considers the home as a complete system, with many parts working together to achieve efficiency.

By taking this comprehensive approach, you can:

  • Improve your comfort and indoor air quality
  • Reduce your energy use with an upgrade
  • Invest in your home and increase its value

Before you upgrade, take a look at the best practices below to learn the benefits of key improvements.

Ready for upgrades?

Our Home Upgrade Participating Contractors use the Whole House approach to help choose the right options for your home, while making sure you are eligible for rebates and incentives. Learn more about Home Upgrade, or call (877) 785-2237 for more information.

Quality Control

inspector_croppedQuality Control is an inspection before your project starts, that identifies any issues that may occur during your project. All Home Upgrade projects may be assigned a random quality control inspection. If your home is chosen, you will be notified by email and phone once your Participating Contractor submits all final paperwork to the Home Upgrade program to schedule your inspection.

• Quality Control inspections help ensure high standards are met

• Inspectors will review your contractor’s work

• Experts check for safety issues and quality, and provide recommendations

• Inspections typically last about 3 hours

Quality Control PDF

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Combustion Safety Testing is a “best practice” that tests your home for dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. For your safety, we require a Combustion Safety Test before and after your Home Upgrade project.

• Contractors are trained and use special equipment to detect dangerous carbon monoxide sources

• The testing will show you if any combustion appliances (stove, furnace, water heater, etc.) in your home are unsafe

• Testing will inform you about carbon monoxide concerns during and after your project

Carbon Monoxide Safety PDF

Attic Insulation and Plane Sealing

iStock_000015504698_MediumInsulation materials in the attic that can help prevent heat transfer between the treated air inside your home, and the unconditioned air outside. The plane (floor) of the attic is sealed to avoid air drafts.

• Helps with uneven temperatures and indoor air quality.It’s important to seal off any air drafts on the attic floor. If you don’t properly seal off drafts, that new insulation may act more like an air filter than an insulator.

• Not sure which type is best? It really depends on your needs. The U.S. Department of Energy gives a great overview on their website. []

• Proper installation matters. Insulation’s effectiveness is measured by its “R-Value.” The higher the R-Value, the more insulating power. Choose R-38 or higher materials.

Duct Sealing

Your air ducts carry air conditioned or heated air to the different rooms in your house. When not installed or maintained correctly, about 20 to 30 percent of conditioned air is lost because of leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. Duct sealing helps your cooled air reach your warmest room.

• A duct leakage tester is used to measure airtightness in ducts. Finding airtightness in your ducts is valuable information when you are trying to conserve energy because it shows where leaks and holes are located in your ducts.

• Sealing your ducts to less than 10 percent air leakage will help improve comfort around your home.

Whole Building Air Sealing

Man-Caulking-Window-6193157Proper ventilation is important, but unwanted air drafts make your home less comfortable. Air sealing reduces leaks and drafts where treated air can escape from your comfortable home, making your air conditioner or furnace work even harder. Air sealing creates a controlled barrier between inside and outside air.

• A blower door test is used to find any openings or drafts in your home. Blower door tests attach a fan to your exterior door and pull air out of your house, allowing the air pressure in your home to drop. Once the air pressure has been lowered, contractors are able to find any cracks or openings from any higher outside air pressure flowing in.

• Your contractor will be able to detect leaks in your home with an infrared camera.

Central Air Conditioner

Person adjusting a wall thermostat with dollar sign symbol on the display Person adjusting a wall thermostat with dollar sign symbol on the display[/caption]A central air conditioner circulates cooled air throughout the house. Choose an energy efficient model rated as 15 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) or higher.

• Your AC and duct system work together. Air ducts must be sealed, insulated and properly sized.

• Your AC and insulation work together. An oversized air conditioner won’t keep an uninsulated house comfortable.

Central Furnace

Energy Upgrade California Photos by Noah Berger Photo Copyright Purchased by MIG/EUC Model Release Obtained for All SubjectsFurnaces work by burning natural gas to create heat through a heat exchanger. Then, air is blown over the heat exchanger through your home’s ducts, and into your house’s rooms. Energy efficiency for a furnace can be determined by its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). Choose an energy efficient model of 92 percent AFUE or higher.

• Many older furnaces have an AFUE of 60 percent. This means that for every $100 spent on heating costs, only $60 are actually used efficiently for heating your home—the other $40 are wasted. An AFUE rating of 92 percent means that only $8 would be wasted.

Floor Insulation (Crawl Space Insulation & Sealing)

Copyright © 2006 Dave PilibosianInsulation that is installed in your crawl space to eliminate dust, damp, and drafts from under the home.

• Helps keep your home a consistent temperature by reducing drafts.

• Floors stay warmer during cooler winter mornings.

• Reduces the amount of allergens and irritants that enter into your home, allowing cleaner air to flow through your home.

Duct Insulation

Energy Upgrade California Photos by Noah Berger Photo Copyright Purchased by MIG/EUC Model Release Obtained for All Subjects• Your air conditioner and furnace work hard to condition air for your home. Without insulation on your air ducts, some of that effort is wasted as heat is transferred in your attic. Duct insulation can be installed as loose fill that covers your ducts, or as a wrap around your existing ducts.

• You can also have your contractor install pre-insulated ducts.

• Insulated ducts help the air from your AC stay cool as it travels through your home’s attic to your room, increasing your comfort.

Gas Storage Water Heater

Energy Upgrade California Photos by Noah Berger Photo Copyright Purchased by MIG/EUC Model Release Obtained for All SubjectsGas storage water heaters typically contain 20 to 80 gallons of ready-to-use hot water. To ensure that the tank is always full, cold water enters through the bottom of the storage unit as hot water is being used. The water heater then warms the cold water to ensure the entire unit of water is hot.

• Water is constantly heated in the tank causing energy to be used even when water isn’t running. Choose a unit with an efficiency factor (EF) of 0.67 or greater to reduce energy loss.

• Proper maintenance and installation for your water heater can help increase energy efficiency.

Gas Tankless Water Heater

Tankless Water HeaterGas tankless water heaters use high-powered burners to heat up water quickly as it runs through a heat exchanger.

• Eliminate the extra cost of storing gallons of hot water and keeping it warm, even when you are not running the water.

• Many people choose tankless water heaters because of their small size, and because they can be installed indoors or outdoors.

• Tankless water heaters can require special installation techniques, and in some cases can require upgrading your home’s natural gas line.

Wall Insulation

Drill and FillInsulation materials are installed in the wall cavity and deflect heat that tries to enter your home.

• In older homes without any insulation, “drill & fill” wall insulation can be done in one or two days with minimal damages to your walls.

• In newer homes with existing wall insulation, adding more wall insulation can be a bigger project. Your contractor can provide advice.

• Insulation is measured through “R-Value” for effectiveness. Choose an R-Value of 13 or higher for the recommended energy efficiency.

• Looking to insulate your walls? The Department of Energy gives a summary of each wall insulation type. []

High Energy Efficiency Windows

WindowsEnergy efficient windows contain reflective coating or insulation. These windows also have frames that are built to lower air leakage rates; some will have lower leakage rates than others.

• Improve comfort in your home, by keeping solar heat out.

• Often reduce dust and noise compared to traditional windows.

• There are multiple types of energy efficient windows to choose from. The Department of Energy offers information about window technology that could help you choose an energy efficient window that is right for you. []