Ever done a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the consequence of extreme weather conditions, repeatedly high bills can quickly indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy because of other means, like drafty windows or poor insulation.
An easy way to figure out whether your home is consuming 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 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 consumes and whether – and where – your home could be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at previous energy bills while completing an energy audit to determine where energy is being used and how much.
The general goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by suggesting energy-efficient improvements, which may include replacing your existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, closing up leaks, or replacing drafty windows.
While completing 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 check your home’s HVAC system, which also includes the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some 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 in comparison to other similar homes in their community. However, lots of energy companies often offer information about where your home stands when compared with similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This could be a great starting point to figure out if you need an energy audit performed.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s worthwhile to know how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it will cause a sizable increase in your energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to stay on longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit should expose where you need to make energy-efficient changes to save on energy and lower utility bills. This might include replacing old weatherstripping or installing 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 could negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can exacerbate health issues, particularly for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Adding to Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by showing possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit on your own will not be as detailed as choosing a professional, it’ll give you a broad understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any problems during the DIY test, then you potentially don’t need to hire a professional. Try 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 greater strain on HVAC equipment. If you discover leaks, use duct tape to close 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 contact a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase your 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 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 look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Age Heating & Cooling for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC pros at Age Heating & Cooling today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of Sandpoint with quality home services for a long time. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.