Did you perform a double take when you took a look at your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the end result of intense weather events, consistently high bills can often suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy because of other means, like drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
An easy way to determine whether your home is wasting energy is by getting 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 key elements.
What Is a Home Energy Audit?
An energy audit is a thorough inspection of how much energy your home consumes and whether – and where – your home might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at older energy bills during an energy audit to figure out where energy is being used and how much.
The overall goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by recommending energy-efficient renovations, which can include swapping out your current HVAC system, adding new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing loose windows.
Over the course of the energy assessment, the auditor carries out an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor performs 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, as well as the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some assessments could also include inspecting your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the average homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is compared to other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, lots of energy companies often offer information about where your home stands in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient compared to your neighbors’ homes. This can be a great starting point to figure out if you need an energy audit performed.
A few 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 the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it can cause a sizable increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to work longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit should outline where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to save on energy and decrease utility bills. This may include replacing worn weatherstripping or getting a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Allowing air to slip into your home via doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to appear, which can negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can exacerbate health problems, particularly for people who have asthma or allergies.
Adding to 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 possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete 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 a generalized 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 call 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 steeper energy bills and increased wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you discover leaks, use duct tape to seal them. If your HVAC equipment is old and inefficient, upgrading to a new system can save you a significant amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it might be better to contact a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Check for air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise the 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 close to baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can look 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 the ventilation. Make sure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are spinning properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Central Heating & Plumbing for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help finding out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC professionals at Central Heating & Plumbing today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.