Don’t just treat the symptoms

IMG_4983My name is Brian Kumer and I am the owner of Thermal Imaging Services of Central Illinois, Inc. Thermal Imaging Services is a small one person energy ­con­sulting business based out of Peoria, Ill. I am ­originally from the ­village of Bryant, a small central Illinois town in Fulton County, ­population 350.

After receiving my associate’s degree in HVACR from a local ­community college, I started my ­business in 2000 to lower utility bills and solve comfort problems for homeowners and businesses. At that time, with energy costs much lower, homeowners did not feel the need to hire someone to save them money on their energy bills. But, ­diagnosing ­reasons for comfort issues is what jump started my business. We all have lived in homes with cold floors, ­dramatically uneven temperatures from room to room and floor to floor, condensation or ice on the windows and the list goes on and on. I hate to break the news to you, but the best heating and cooling systems on the market cannot fix these building problems.

I am excited to have this opportunity to write for Illinois Country Living. I have spent more than a decade investigating failed homes and very efficient homes, from small modest homes to multi-million ­dollar homes and businesses. I welcome this great opportunity to share my ­experiences with many of you who are experiencing some of the same issues with your homes.

I have based all of my research, experience and recommendations to repair failed homes on building ­science: heat flow, moisture flow and air flow. I do not sell any products or service so you will get unbiased information. If something works I will tell you, if something doesn’t work I will shout it out! You work hard for your money so you need to be well informed of what works and what doesn’t – that’s my job! If you think about it the homeowner, that’s you, is the general contractor of your home. You decide what gets done, in what order, the materials that will be used, you hire and fire the help and pay all the bills.

Home performance is not just insulation, air sealing and fixing leaky ducts. There is a lot going on under the roof of a home and definitely more than I can cover in one article a month. In the months to come I will expand on interesting topics that are relative to the time of year. I will try to include links to other helpful articles or websites so you can do your own research.

If your home is not performing the way it should, you need to determine the biggest problem down to the smallest. Having an energy audit (I prefer the term energy evaluation) done on your home will prioritize your energy improvements allowing you to get the biggest bang for your buck. Your local electric cooperative can help you with that.

For example, do you know what part of the home typically has the greatest amount of air leakage? It is between the living space of the house and the attic. Now, as the general ­contractor of your home, you should hire a good ­reputable insulation contractor to blow more insulation into your attic, right? Wrong. Before insulation, the attic floor must be air sealed, and tested with a blower door to verify that all of the holes and cracks have been ­properly air sealed, before the insulation is blown into the attic ­covering the real problems!

Brian Kumer can be contacted at or call 309-547-5000
Brian Kumer can be contacted at or call 309-547-5000

I would like to leave you with something to think about until the next time we meet. Homeowners need to fix the root cause of their problem and not just treat the symptom! Do you know that in the winter you should NEVER need to add ­humidity to a home? If you do have to add moisture, your home’s air infiltration rate is too high and the home needs to be air sealed to keep the moisture in. Maintaining 35 to 40 percent ­relative humidity in the winter will keep you and your home healthy.

See you next month with more ideas to lower your utility bills and keep you comfortable.