Have you ever performed a double take when you took a look at your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the end result of intense weather conditions, persistently high bills can quickly indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy by other means, like drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the simplest ways to figure out whether your home is consuming too much energy is by hiring a home service expert to complete a home energy audit, also called a home energy assessment. Keep reading to learn more about home energy audits, including what they are and their advantages.
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 could be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at older energy bills in the course of an energy audit to figure out where energy is being wasted and how much.
The overall goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by recommending energy-efficient improvements, which can include exchanging your current HVAC system, putting in new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing drafty windows.
During the energy assessment, the auditor carries out 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 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 reviewing your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be tough for the average homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is compared to other similar homes in their community. However, lots of energy companies often supply information about where your home stands in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This could be a good starting point to decide if you need an energy audit completed.
Some of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Understanding How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to learn more about how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it can result in a significant increase in your energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to run 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 save on energy and lower utility bills. This can include replacing worn weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Permitting air to leak into your home through doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to build up, which could negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can exacerbate health issues, 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 potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit on your own will not be as comprehensive as hiring a professional, it’ll give you a broad idea of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any problems during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to bring in a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Examine your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, contributing to higher energy bills and greater 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 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 increase monthly energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where there is a draft, such as along the edge of flooring and near baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can inspect for air leaks in 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. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are spinning properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Forster Heating for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want 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 with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.