Have you noticed that your energy bills are going up? If you’re spending a lot on your energy bills, it’s a smart time to consider getting an energy audit.
A home energy audit determines how much energy your home uses and where your home is losing or wasting energy. Sometimes these are also called home energy evaluations or assessments, but whatever you call them, energy audits for homes reveal where you can make improvements in energy efficiency.
While this is good for the environment, audits are good for you, too, because they can really save you money on energy bills! The sooner you update your home to make it more energy efficient, the sooner your bills will go down. And audits even point out any hazards you may be overlooking, such as small gas leaks.
Having your home audited could be a good idea if you’ve ever wondered why one room is consistently hotter or colder than other rooms in the house, whether or not new windows will be worth the money, or how you can find ways to make your home more “green.”
And don’t assume that just because your home is recently constructed — or even brand new — that there are no opportunities to save energy. Energy-saving technology is rapidly evolving and continues to amaze with all of the problems it can solve even in newer homes.
A professional energy audit is a good investment, though you can perform some simple efficiency checks on your own. A diligent walk-through can help you spot some simple concerns that may be a good start for fixes… like making sure you’re not seeing daylight around your exterior doors or checking that you don’t have drafty outlets and light switches.
But a professional auditor goes even further, using special tools and technology to help them identify areas of your home where there are energy leaks or waste.
Professional audits for homes include a blower door test that uses a special fan to depressurize your home and locate possible air leaks. The auditor may also perform a thermographic scan, which measures surface temperatures in the home — and whether there is sufficient insulation — using infrared cameras.
A professional energy audit also helps you to understand how and where your energy is used by understanding your lifestyle and habits as well. It includes an analysis of your behavior, including the number of rooms actually in use in your home, what times of day people are at home, and how many people live there.
In general, here’s what you should expect to happen during an energy audit of your entire home:
Check For Major Air Leaks
You or a professional will look for drafts from chimneys, bypasses, recessed lighting, outlets, and HVAC ducts. With special equipment, a professional can conduct a blower door test to determine your overall home’s airtightness. A thermographic scan can further detect air leakage from windows, walls, doors, and entire home.
Check Heating, Cooling, and Electrical Systems
You will inspect insulation and examine your home’s duct system, filters and venting. In this step, you or an auditor will test for fuel leaks in your furnace and its blower. You’ll check your thermostat settings and insulation on your water heater tank, and inspect your fireplace and chimney. You’ll also check your appliance energy use and examine light fixtures and wiring.
Check for Moisture and Water Vapor
During the audit, you or a professional will look for water leakage, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. You’ll also inspect your vent fans and look for condensation on walls.
Examine Gas Appliances
In this step, you’ll measure the temperature, check for leaks, and measure any carbon dioxide in the exhaust of gas appliances.
Once a home energy auditor identifies where your home requires energy improvements, you can take steps to resolve the issue. For example, the audit may reveal that you need to clean your air ducts, or even replace worn window weatherstripping. Fixing these problems will make your home more energy-efficient.
Improving the energy efficiency of your home increases control over your home environment. Your HVAC system will be able to heat or cool your home more efficiently, which extends its service life, improves your personal comfort, and lowers your energy bill.
Furthermore, increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the best home improvements you can make to increase your property value. Energy-efficient homes are highly sought after by potential buyers who prefer purchasing homes where energy issues have already been identified and corrected.