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Alban Inspections provides the services of building safety and energy efficiency inspections. They have a large staff, and are members of the trade organization, American Certified Home Inspectors, which holds high standards in certifying its members.
The company serves Maryland, Virginia, and DC, and works with building owners, builders, and realtors. They are part of a new and growing field: energy efficiency auditing and inspection.
An energy efficiency inspection is an attempt to discover how a building uses energy. This can involve in depth examination of the integrity of wiring, walls, insulation, and appliances. Inspectors check for visible leaks and holes, water entry, rot, unnecessary electric load draw from faulty wiring, appliances that need to be replaced, right application of switches and breakers, and other details. Then, the building shell is searched for air leaks. Two common methods for finding leaks are blower door tests, and infrared viewing.
In a blower door test, all of a building’s openings are shut except one, over which is placed a specialized fan. The fan measures speed and pressure of the air moving through it – data that can tell how airtight a building is.
Infrared cameras allow an inspector to see heat. By observing where heat is most concentrated on the outer surface of a house, he or she can find where the most heat is escaping. Heat can escape through gaps in insulation, rotted sections of a wall, or defective windows that might not have been possible to find using the naked eye. After inspection, Alban gives an in-depth written report that includes: a building’s strengths, areas of concern, maintenance tips, and repair or replacement cost estimates.
Their website is helpful. One can look at many photographed examples of common building problems, taken during inspections. There is a free e-mail advisory, whereby visitors can direct questions to individual staff specialists, and a listing of contractors who perform the kinds of services that may be needed after an inspection. They even offer a $25.00 gift certificate to Home Depot in exchange for new customer referrals.