Ever done a double take when you checked your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the consequence of severe weather conditions, persistently high bills can also suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy by other means, including drafty windows or poor insulation.
One of the easiest ways to identify whether your home is using too much energy is by hiring a home service professional to complete a home energy audit, also referred to 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 comprehensive inspection of how much energy your home uses up and whether – and where – your home might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through older energy bills while completing an energy audit to figure out where energy is being consumed and how much.
The overall goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient improvements, which can include swapping out your current HVAC system, putting in new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing old windows.
While completing the energy assessment, the auditor performs 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, including the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Exhaustive assessments could also include inspecting your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the ordinary homeowner to know for certain how efficient their home is versus other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, local energy companies often supply information about where your home stands in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This could be a great starting point to determine if you need an energy audit scheduled.
Some of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s beneficial to understand how efficient your home is and where you’re using the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it will cause a large increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to work longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Improvements
An energy audit should expose where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to conserve energy and reduce utility bills. This might include replacing worn weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Permitting air to leak into your home via doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to build up, which could negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can lead to health issues, especially for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are sought after by homebuyers. You can sell your home more quickly or for more money by showing prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit on your own may not be as detailed as calling a professional, it’ll give you a generalized sense 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 bring in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Inspect your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, leading to steeper energy bills and greater wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you discover 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 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 monthly energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where you can find a draft, such as along the edge of flooring and along 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.
- 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 the ventilation. Ensure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact West Jefferson Plumbing and Heating, Inc. for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC experts at West Jefferson Plumbing and Heating, Inc. today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.