Blower doors and other equipment can quantify how much conditioned air is exiting a house, but what does that mean to the homeowner? Maybe not much unless it’s translated into dollars and cents.

A new Web-based software program from Knauf Insulation is doing just that. The Plug program uses homeowner-supplied information about the age of the home, type of heating, average energy costs, and more to calculate how “heat bleed” could be affecting their wallets.

“Plug has coding in the background that hits on tax information, NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] data, and other qualified information to make detailed calculations,” says Knauf marketing communications manager Anissa Benich. “It also makes educated assumptions. If your home was built in 1960, the program will assume you’ve replaced your air conditioner once or twice in that time.”

In some cases, Benich says home­owners may want to perform additional testing to determine the extent of their heat-bleed. “The Plug results are a chance for homeowners to consider looking into air sealing now, rather than spending money on granite countertops,” she says. “The savings they’d see from insulating and air sealing could pay for aesthetic upgrades later.”

Access to Plug is available by request via Knauf’s website After completing a training session with a Knauf rep, builders and remodelers receive a unique URL and password to use the program.

—Lauren Hunter, senior editor, REMODELING.

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