Ever done a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the end result of severe weather events, repeatedly high bills can also signify an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy through other means, including drafty windows or inadequate insulation.
One of the simplest ways to determine whether your home is using too much energy is by hiring a home service specialist 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 custom inspection of how much energy your home uses up and whether – and where – your home may be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at older energy bills in the course of 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 recommending energy-efficient improvements, which might include exchanging your existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, closing up leaks, or replacing loose windows.
While completing 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 figure out if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also evaluate your home’s HVAC system, which also includes the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Comprehensive assessments could also include checking 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 community. However, many energy companies often provide information about where your home is ranked in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient in contrast with your neighbors’ homes. This is a good starting point to determine if you need an energy audit scheduled.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s worthwhile to understand how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it will result in a significant increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to run longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit will expose where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to save on energy and lower utility bills. This may include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Enabling air to slip into your home via doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to appear, which could negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can exacerbate health conditions, particularly for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by telling possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit independently may not be as thorough as calling a professional, it’ll give you a general sense of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any flaws during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to hire a professional. Follow this step-by-step checklist:
- Inspect your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, contributing to higher energy bills and excess 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 contact a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Check for air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise monthly energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where you can find a draft, like along the edge of flooring and near 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. Make sure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact West Jefferson Plumbing and Heating, Inc. for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC professionals at West Jefferson Plumbing and Heating, Inc. today. We’ve proudly served the residents of West Jefferson with quality home services for a long time. Contact us today to set up an appointment.