Did you perform 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 by other means, including drafty windows or poor insulation.
An easy way to figure out whether your home is wasting energy is by getting a home service expert to carry out a home energy audit, also referred to as 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 up and whether – and where – your home could be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through past energy bills during an energy audit to determine where energy is being used and how much.
The overall goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient updates, which may include swapping out your current HVAC system, installing new insulation, closing up leaks, or replacing loose windows.
During 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. Comprehensive assessments may also include reviewing your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be tough for the ordinary homeowner to know for certain how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their neighborhood. 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 in contrast with your neighbors’ homes. This can be a useful starting point to figure out if you need an energy audit scheduled.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Learning How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s beneficial to know how efficient your home is and where you’re using the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it can result in a sizable increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to work longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit will expose where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to cut back on energy and reduce utility bills. This might include replacing worn weatherstripping or getting a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Enabling air to slip into your home through doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to form, which could negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can lead to health problems, especially for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Adding to Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are desired by homebuyers. You can sell your home much faster or for more money by demonstrating to potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit independently might not be as detailed as calling a professional, it’ll give you a broad understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any issues during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to hire a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Inspect your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, leading to higher energy bills and excess wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you notice 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 considerable amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it is better to contact a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise your energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where there is a draft, including along the edge of flooring and close to baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can look 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 ventilation. Ensure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are spinning properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact H&C Heating and Cooling for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC experts at H&C Heating and Cooling today. We’ve proudly served the residents of Laurel with quality home services for years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.