Did you perform a double take when you checked your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the result of extreme weather events, consistently high bills can also suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy by other means, such as drafty windows or poor insulation.
One of the simplest ways to determine whether your home is using too much energy is by getting a home service expert to perform a home energy audit, also referred to 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 custom inspection of how much energy your home consumes 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 figure out where energy is being consumed and how much.
The general goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by suggesting energy-efficient improvements, which may include replacing your existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, closing up leaks, or replacing drafty 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 find out if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also check your home’s HVAC system, including the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Exhaustive assessments may also include reviewing 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 community. However, lots of energy companies often supply information about where your home stands when compared with similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient in contrast with your neighbors’ homes. This could be a good starting point to figure out if you need an energy audit completed.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to know how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it could lead to a significant increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to stay on longer to fully heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit will expose where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to conserve energy and lower utility bills. This might include replacing old weatherstripping or getting a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Permitting air to seep into your home through doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to build up, which could negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can exacerbate health problems, especially for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred 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 Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although completing an energy audit independently may not be as comprehensive as hiring a professional, it’ll offer you a broad understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any problems during the DIY test, then you potentially don’t need to bring in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Examine your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, contributing to more expensive energy bills and excess strain on HVAC equipment. If you find 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 might be better to hire 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 you can find a draft, such as along the edge of flooring and along 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. Ensure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC experts at Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces today. We’ve proudly served the residents of with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.