Ever done a double take when you took a look at your last energy bill? Even though high energy bills can be the consequence of intense weather conditions, consistently high bills can also suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy through other means, including drafty windows or inadequate insulation.
One of the simplest ways to determine whether your home is consuming too much energy is by hiring a home service professional to carry out a home energy audit, also known as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to learn more 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 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 find out 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 recommending energy-efficient updates, which can include exchanging your existing HVAC system, putting in new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing loose windows.
While completing the energy assessment, the auditor also completes an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor will perform a blower door test on doorways, windows and fireplaces to determine if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also inspect your home’s HVAC system, which also includes the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Exhaustive assessments could also include reviewing your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be tough for the average homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their community. However, lots of energy companies often provide information about where your home is ranked 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 figure out if you need an energy audit completed.
Some 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, it can result in a significant increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to work longer to fully heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit should expose where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to cut back on energy and reduce utility bills. This can include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Permitting air to leak into your home via doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to appear, which can negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can cause health issues, especially for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Increasing Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are desired by homebuyers. You can sell your home more quickly or for more money by demonstrating to prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit independently may not be as thorough as calling a professional, it’ll offer a broad sense 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. Damaged ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, contributing to steeper energy bills and greater strain on HVAC equipment. If you notice 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 substantial amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it is better to hire a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase monthly energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where there could be a draft, like along the edge of flooring and near 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.
- 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 ventilation. Make sure 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 want professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC professionals at H&C Heating and Cooling today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of with quality home services for years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.