Ever done a double take when you took a look at your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the result of severe weather events, persistently high bills can also suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy because of other means, such as drafty windows or inadequate insulation.
One of the simplest ways to identify whether your home is wasting energy is by hiring a home service specialist to perform 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 benefits.
What Is a Home Energy Audit?
An energy audit is a thorough inspection of how much energy your home uses up and whether – and where – your home may be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through previous energy bills during an energy audit to figure 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 recommending energy-efficient improvements, which might include replacing your current HVAC system, installing new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing drafty 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 find out if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also evaluate your home’s HVAC system, as well as the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some assessments may also include reviewing your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be hard for the ordinary homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, local 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 useful starting point to determine if you need an energy audit completed.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Understanding How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to know how efficient your home is and where you’re using the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it could cause a large 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 Upgrades
An energy audit will reveal where you need to make energy-efficient changes to conserve energy and reduce utility bills. This may include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Permitting air to seep into your home via doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to appear, which can negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can lead to health problems, particularly for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are sought after by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by telling prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit by yourself will not be as detailed as hiring a professional, it’ll offer you a broad sense of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any flaws during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to hire a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, leading to steeper energy bills and excess wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to seal 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.
- 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, including along the edge of flooring and along baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can look 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. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are spinning properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Bain Heating & Air Conditioning for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC experts at Bain Heating & Air Conditioning today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of with quality home services for years. Contact us today to request an appointment.