Hammer & Hand client says home performance retrofit made her Portland cottage cozy and safe

Home energy audit and remodel by Hammer & Hand leaves homeowner happy… and warm!

Portland home energy audit and home performance retrofitLast month Hammer & Hand’s Skylar Swinford wrote an excellent post about our home energy audit and home performance retrofit of a 1912 cottage in Northeast Portland.  Today, I caught up with Jody, the homeowner, to see how she was faring in her recently retrofitted digs.  “I’ve been super, super happy,” she said.

Here’s what she shared…

Jody: “I just wanted to be warm.  That’s been accomplished, and I’m so happy with the result.  It’s fun: every month I get the gas bill and look at the therms.  This October, the first month that I turned on the heat after the retrofit, I compared the numbers with the previous year’s October.  The therms used were exactly the same, only this October I was warm.  Last October?  I kept the heat on just enough so I wouldn’t freeze to death!”

We tend to focus on energy efficiency when we talk about home performance, but comfort is equally important.  In Jody’s case, she had been really sacrificing her comfort in order to avoid astronomical gas bills.  After the home performance retrofit, the experience of living in her house during the winter has been totally transformed, and at no added energy consumption.

Jody: “During the home performance assessment I learned that an industrial hood installed by a previous contractor had set up a dangerous situation in my house.  If I ran that hood while my furnace and hot water heater were on, there was a real possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.”

As Skylar’s post covers in more depth, Jody’s industrial hood was so powerful that it created a backdraft, in spite of the house’s very leaky condition pre-retrofit.  Dangerous combustion fumes from the old hot water heater were being trapped inside the house and could have threatened Jody’s health.  Home performance practitioners’ mantra is to approach “the house as a system” and to understand how seemingly minor changes to a house can have far-reaching impacts.  Untrained in building science, the previous contractor wasn’t aware of the potentially grave consequences of installing an outsized exhaust hood in Jody’s kitchen.  One of the most important functions of a home performance assessment is to uncover these sorts of hidden dangers.

Jody: “Everything is so clean, and the paint job by John of Apostolos Painting is outstanding.  I wanted the patch work and repainting of my siding to look really good.  Alex Daisley from Hammer & Hand was super-responsive and accommodating about this, and Westside Drywall and Apostolos did a great job making it turn out right.  It’s raised the bar, so now I have to come back next summer and do all the trim.”

Tankless hot water heater in home performance retrofit.Nerdy Cool Factor
Jody: “I have a super cool-looking tankless hot water heater now!”

Check it out on the left.  Pretty cool, right?

And finally… Social Acceptance!
Jody: “Now friends and family don’t make fun of me anymore for how cold my house is, and they can take their coats off when they come over!”

Okay, I’m sure Jody was already accepted by her friends and family before our work on her house.  Fair enough…

In any case, we relished the chance to transform her great 1912 Portland house into an energy efficient, comfortable and healthy home, ready for the twenty-first century.

– Zack

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