Have you ever performed a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the end result of extreme weather conditions, consistently high bills can often suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy because of other means, such as drafty windows or inadequate insulation.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether your home is using too much energy is by hiring a home service professional to carry out a home energy audit, also called 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 thorough inspection of how much energy your home consumes and whether – and where – your home could be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at older energy bills while completing an energy audit to figure out where energy is being used and how much.
The ultimate goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient renovations, which can include swapping out your existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing old windows.
Over the course of the energy assessment, the auditor also completes an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor performs a blower door test on doorways, windows and fireplaces to determine if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also check your home’s HVAC system, including the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Exhaustive assessments might also include inspecting your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the average homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is compared to other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, many energy companies often supply information about where your home ranks in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This could be a useful starting point to decide if you need an energy audit scheduled.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Learning How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s beneficial to learn more about how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are damaged, it will cause a large increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to run longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit will outline where you need to make energy-efficient changes to conserve energy and reduce utility bills. This may include replacing worn weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Enabling air to leak into your home through doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to appear, which may negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can cause health conditions, particularly 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 much faster or for more money by demonstrating to prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit by yourself may not be as thorough as hiring a professional, it’ll give you a broad 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 call in a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Inspect your HVAC system. Leaky ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, leading to steeper energy bills and greater strain on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to eliminate them. If your HVAC equipment is old and wearing down, upgrading to a new system can save you a substantial amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it is better to hire a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Look 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, like along the edge of flooring and close to baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can inspect for air leaks in 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. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, Heating & AC for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC professionals at Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, Heating & AC today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of with quality home services for a long time. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.