Have you ever performed a double take when you checked your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the end result of extreme weather conditions, repeatedly high bills can also suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy because of other means, like drafty windows or inadequate insulation.
An easy way to identify whether your home is consuming 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 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 go through past energy bills in the course of an energy audit to determine where energy is being wasted and how much.
The general goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient improvements, which can include replacing your current HVAC system, putting in new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing loose windows.
Over the course of the energy assessment, the auditor performs 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, including the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Exhaustive assessments may also include checking your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the average homeowner to know for certain how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their area. However, local energy companies often provide information about where your home ranks in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient in contrast with your neighbors’ homes. This can be a good starting point to determine 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 good to understand how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are damaged, it can lead to a sizable increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to work longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit will outline where you need to make energy-efficient changes to save on energy and lower utility bills. This can include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Enabling air to slip into your home through doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to build up, which may negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can lead to health issues, especially for people who have 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 showing possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit by yourself might not be as thorough as choosing 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 potentially don’t need to call in a professional. Follow this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, contributing to 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 wearing down, upgrading to a new system can save you a significant 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 the energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where there is a draft, such as along the edge of flooring and near 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 look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Dearing's Service & Solutions for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help finding out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC pros at Dearing's Service & Solutions today. We’ve proudly served the residents of with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
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