Ever done a double take when you checked your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the consequence of severe weather events, consistently high bills can often suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy through other means, including drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the simplest ways to figure out whether your home is wasting energy is by hiring a home service expert to perform a home energy audit, also known as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to learn all about home energy audits, including what they are and their key elements.
What Is a Home Energy Audit?
An energy audit is a thorough inspection of how much energy your home uses and whether – and where – your home might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through older energy bills in the course of an energy audit to figure out where energy is being used and how much.
The general goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by recommending energy-efficient renovations, which can include exchanging your current HVAC system, adding new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing old windows.
While completing the energy assessment, the auditor carries out an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor completes a blower door test on doorways, windows and fireplaces to determine if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also inspect your home’s HVAC system, as well as the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some assessments may also include checking your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be hard for the ordinary homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, many energy companies often offer information about where your home stands when compared with similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This can be a useful starting point to determine if you need an energy audit performed.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Learning How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s worthwhile to know how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it will lead to a significant increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to stay on longer to fully heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit can expose where you need to make energy-efficient changes to save on energy and reduce utility bills. This may include replacing old weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Enabling air to seep into your home through doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to form, which may negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can exacerbate health problems, especially for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are desired by homebuyers. You can sell your home more quickly or for more money by demonstrating to prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although completing an energy audit on your own will not be as thorough as choosing a professional, it’ll offer you a general understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any flaws during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to hire a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Examine your HVAC system. Leaky ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, contributing to steeper energy bills and greater wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you discover leaks, use duct tape to seal them. If your HVAC equipment is old and inefficient, upgrading to a new system can save you a significant amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it might be better to hire a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Check for air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise your energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where there is a draft, including along the edge of flooring and close to baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can look for air leaks around the home’s foundation, siding and mortar. Plug, caulk or seal any air leaks to save money.
- Inspect insulation. If your home is older, it could mean your insulation is too. If you can see the joists, you likely need more insulation.
- Check ventilation. Ensure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Olde Towne Heating & Air for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC pros at Olde Towne Heating & Air today. We’ve proudly served the residents of with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.