Did you perform a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? Even though high energy bills can be the result of severe weather events, consistently high bills can quickly suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy by other means, including drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the simplest ways to identify whether your home is consuming too much energy is by hiring a home service specialist 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 key elements.
What Is a Home Energy Audit?
An energy audit is a custom inspection of how much energy your home uses and whether – and where – your home might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through previous energy bills in the course of an energy audit to find out where energy is being consumed and how much.
The ultimate goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient improvements, which may include swapping out your existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing drafty windows.
While completing the energy assessment, the auditor carries out an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor completes 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. Exhaustive assessments could 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 in comparison to other similar homes in their community. However, lots of energy companies often offer information about where your home ranks when compared with similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This could be a useful starting point to determine if you need an energy audit completed.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to know how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are damaged, it could result in a large increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to stay on longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Improvements
An energy audit should expose where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to cut back on energy and decrease utility bills. This might include replacing old weatherstripping or getting a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Permitting air to seep into your home through doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to build up, which could negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can lead to health conditions, especially for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Increasing Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by showing potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit by yourself may not be as comprehensive as hiring a professional, it’ll give you a generalized understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any issues during the DIY test, then you potentially 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 increased 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 is better to hire a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Look for air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase 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 close to baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can look for air leaks along 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. Ensure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact US Air Heating and Cooling for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC experts at US Air Heating and Cooling today. We’ve proudly served the residents of with quality home services for years. Contact us today to request an appointment.