Did you perform a double take when you checked your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the end result of severe weather conditions, persistently high bills can quickly signify an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy by other means, like drafty windows or poor insulation.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether your home is wasting energy is by hiring a home service expert to carry out a home energy audit, also called a home energy assessment. Keep reading to find out 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 go through past energy bills in the course of an energy audit to find 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 suggesting energy-efficient improvements, which might include swapping out your existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, closing 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 completes 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, including the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Exhaustive assessments could also include checking your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the typical homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is versus other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, local energy companies often supply information about where your home ranks 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 great starting point to figure out if you need an energy audit scheduled.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Learning How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s worthwhile to learn more about how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it will cause a sizable 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 Updates
An energy audit can outline where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to cut back on energy and reduce utility bills. This might include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Allowing air to seep into your home via 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 encourage mold. This can lead to health issues, especially for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are desired by homebuyers. You can sell your home much faster or for more money by demonstrating to possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit independently may not be as detailed as choosing a professional, it’ll offer you a general idea of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any issues during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to bring in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, resulting in higher energy bills and excess wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you notice leaks, use duct tape to seal them. If your HVAC equipment is old and inefficient, 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.
- Look 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 could be a draft, including along the edge of flooring and near baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can inspect for air leaks along 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. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and check for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Central Heating & Plumbing for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC pros at Central Heating & Plumbing today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of New Castle with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.