Ever done a double take when you checked your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the end result of severe weather events, persistently high bills can often signify an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy through other means, such as drafty windows or inadequate insulation.

One of the simplest ways to figure out whether your home is wasting energy is by hiring a home service professional to carry out a home energy audit, also referred to as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to find out more about home energy audits, including what they are and their advantages.

What Is a Home Energy Audit?

An energy audit is a comprehensive inspection of how much energy your home uses and whether – and where – your home could be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will review previous energy bills in the course of an energy audit to figure out where energy is being wasted and how much.

The overall goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient updates, which may include replacing your existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing old windows.

During the energy assessment, the auditor also completes an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor will perform a blower door test on doorways, windows and fireplaces to figure out if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also inspect your home’s HVAC system, which also includes the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Comprehensive assessments could also include inspecting your current lighting system.

Benefits of a Home Energy Audit

It can be hard for the typical homeowner to know for certain how efficient their home is compared to other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, local energy companies often offer information about where your home is ranked in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient compared to your neighbors’ homes. This could be a great starting point to determine if you need an energy audit scheduled.

Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:

Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is

It’s good to know how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are damaged, it can cause a significant increase in your energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to work longer to properly heat or cool your home.

Making Energy-Efficient Updates

An energy audit will expose where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to cut back on energy and reduce utility bills. This might include replacing worn weatherstripping or getting a new energy-efficient furnace.

Improving Health and Safety

Allowing air to leak into your home through doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to appear, which can negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can exacerbate health problems, particularly for people dealing with asthma or allergies.

Increasing Your Home’s Retail Value

Energy-efficient homes are desired by homebuyers. You can sell your home more quickly or for more money by showing possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.

How to Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home

Although handling an energy audit by yourself will not be as detailed as hiring a professional, it’ll offer a generalized understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any issues during the DIY test, then you probably don’t need to call in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:

  • Review your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, resulting in steeper energy bills and increased wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to plug 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 can be better to hire a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
  • Look for air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase the energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where there could be a draft, such as along the edge of flooring and along baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can inspect for air leaks around the home’s foundation, siding and mortar. Plug, caulk or seal any air leaks to save money.
  • Examine 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 the ventilation. Make sure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and check for evidence of rot or moisture.

Contact Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, Heating & AC for a Professional Energy Audit

If you are interested in professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC experts at Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, Heating & AC today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Ellsworth with quality home services for years. Contact us today to request an appointment.