Ever done a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the result of extreme weather conditions, consistently high bills can quickly indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy because of other means, including drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the simplest ways to figure out whether your home is using too much energy is by calling a home service expert to complete 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 thorough inspection of how much energy your home uses and whether – and where – your home may be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will review past energy bills in the course of an energy audit to figure out 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 identifying energy-efficient renovations, which can include swapping out your existing HVAC system, installing new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing loose 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, 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 tough for the typical homeowner to know for certain how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their area. However, lots of energy companies often provide information about where your home is ranked in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient compared to your neighbors’ homes. This is a great starting point to decide if you need an energy audit performed.
Some of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to learn more about how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it will result in a significant 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 reveal where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to conserve energy and reduce utility bills. This might include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Enabling air to slip into your home through doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to build up, which could negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can cause health problems, especially 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 Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although completing an energy audit on your own may not be as thorough as calling a professional, it’ll offer a general understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any flaws during the DIY test, then you potentially don’t need to bring in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, resulting in steeper energy bills and excess strain 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 significant amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it might be better to hire a reputable HVAC company in Auburn to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise the 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 near 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 ventilation. Ensure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Forster Heating for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC professionals at Forster Heating today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Auburn with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.