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Comapny wants to do energy audit - then replace all my HVAC- sound reasonable?

Comapny wants to do energy audit - then replace all my HVAC- sound reasonable?

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  #1  
Old 12-15-12, 06:56 AM
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Comapny wants to do energy audit - then replace all my HVAC- sound reasonable?

Hello,

I was approached by a company going door to door in my neighborhood with a proposal and I thought I'd post here to see if it sounds reasonable. Their pitch was, they would do an energy audit (today) and check furnace, AC, water heater, insulation, ducting etc. They would take a recent copy of my gas and electric bills. They would submit their audit and my bills to the state of NJ and if NJ finds that I'd be able to save a minimum of 25% of my energy costs, then they would go ahead with their next step. This would be to replace my furnace, AC and related ducting, water heater, insulate where needed etc.

The cost would be about 15k, and of that, the state would pick up 5k, and the remainder would not be out of pocket for me but would be assessed to my utility bills at the rate of about $80/month. Their thought is that the savings in energy would lower my enegy and negate, or come close to accounting for the added $80.

Since my water heater is only 2 years old, I asked why that would need to be replaced. His reply was that the newest most efficient equipment vents differently and that would not be able to be retro fitted. (I dont have a tankless , so maybe he's proposing tankless ?)

I see about 6-8 of their signs around my neigborhood so I assume some people have gone through with this. I'm just posting to see if any experts have some good questions to ask when they get here later to do the audit .

Few details about my house -
Location - central NJ
Square footage - about 2200 - one zone
Utilities, furnace - American Standard freedom 80 (18 yrs old) Central air also original, about 18 yrs old, 50 gal GE water heater, 2 yrs old.
layout - 4 bdrm, on crawlspace, master downstairs, 3 bdrm upstairs.
cathedral ceiling in living rm which causes much heat to go straight upstairs but I also have a gas fireplace downstairs.
My gas bill is about 135/month and elec about 235/month.

Thank You
Bill
 
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  #2  
Old 12-15-12, 07:03 AM
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ask your neighbors, that did it, about their experience. I think most all door to door is shady business. I doubt you will not see any out of pocket expense. There is a catch, you just have to find it.
 
  #3  
Old 12-15-12, 07:27 AM
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In my humble opinion the proper way to respond to someone going door to door to solicit business is slam the door in their face. There are so many scams, many decades old, that start that way. There is even a well known and documented extended family of con artists that travel the country doing this sort of thing though usually they are quick fix artists with things like driveway and roof fixes. Same principle though.
 
  #4  
Old 12-15-12, 08:05 AM
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First it is a high pressure sales pitch designed to look very good, I used to live in Brick and work in Holmdel. The fact that it is a take all package throws up red flags. All of the signs at the neighbors just means they didn't ask for advice.

How much would their audit only cost? I do energy audits, but I don't do contracting and/or sell equipment, that makes me an independent energy auditor. They are not. Even if their audit is free, you can guess it will point to the work they like to do.

Judging from your energy bills, you do have an opportunity to save. Your basic equipment has some years on it, except the hot water heater, so it needs to be reviewed to determine if replacement is warranted. You are on natural gas for heat and those prices are hitting record lows. I hope yours is as well.

Here are some thoughts about their deal:
Who does the audit, their employee or a BPI or HERS certified independent energy auditor?
Who Pays for the audit if you don't go forward with their package?
Who installs the equipment?
What brand, and who handles the warranty and service? Are they reputable?

Break it down piece by piece and step by step and don't sign anything. Ask for some references from 3 or 4 years ago to see if the homes are experiencing the benefits claimed.

I see you are new to the forum. Improving energy efficiency is a well discussed topic here and there are many well qualified professionals willing to advise, so do some reading.

If this is a package through your utility company you should be able to find more details other than their sales pitch. maybe you can select your own work and your own contractors and still qualify. How long has this offer been around and how long will it remain?

Bud
 
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Old 12-15-12, 09:20 AM
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I personally would not patronize anyone who knocked on my door.
I'm sure that there are many reputable companies doing business this way but it is also how a good many scammers and overpriced individuals operate.

By handing over paper copies of your bills you are handing over some very personal information to someone you don't know.

My suggestion would be to use their visit as a clue that there could be some energy savings but deliberately do not patronize that company.
As suggested I am sure that if you research what your utility has to offer and carefully screen contractors I am sure you will save a pile of money.
 
  #6  
Old 12-15-12, 10:26 AM
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I'm pretty sure that whatever the deal they are offering is, it will involve switching over to a competing independent energy supplier. There has been a door to door and phone campaign going on for quite some time in my area, North Jersey. They have an army of young college age kids out canvassing and asking to see your energy bill and how they can save you some money. I never listened to the whole spiel before cut them off. I know PSE&G had some similar program re: boiler/AC upgrade with low/no interest loan a few years ago but I think that has expired.
 
  #7  
Old 12-15-12, 11:42 AM
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<<
If this is a package through your utility company you should be able to find more details other than their sales pitch. maybe you can select your own work and your own contractors and still qualify. How long has this offer been around and how long will it remain? >>


This sounds like VERY good advice.

Then get back to us here and tell us what you found!

I'd bet that the utility isn't going to require perfectly good equipment to be replaced, not without a good reason.
 
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