Ever done a double take when you checked your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the result of extreme weather events, persistently high bills can quickly signify an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy through other means, including drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
An easy way to figure out whether your home is using too much energy is by getting a home service professional to carry out 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 custom inspection of how much energy your home uses and whether – and where – your home might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at previous energy bills while completing an energy audit to figure out where energy is being used and how much.
The ultimate goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient renovations, which can include swapping out your existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, sealing 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 completes a blower door test on doorways, windows and fireplaces to figure out if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also evaluate your home’s HVAC system, which also includes the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Comprehensive assessments might 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 neighborhood. However, local 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 useful starting point to determine if you need an energy audit performed.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s beneficial 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 air, it could lead to a large increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to work longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit should outline where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to cut back on energy and lower utility bills. This can include replacing old weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing 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 form, which can negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can lead to health conditions, particularly for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Adding to Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are sought after by homebuyers. You can sell your home more quickly or for more money by showing prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although completing an energy audit independently will not be as detailed as calling a professional, it’ll offer you a broad sense of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any issues during the DIY test, then you probably don’t need to hire a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Inspect your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, contributing to steeper energy bills and excess strain on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to plug 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.
- Check for air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase the energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where there is a draft, like along the edge of flooring and along 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. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Air Current AC & Heat for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help finding out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC pros at Air Current AC & Heat today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of with quality home services for years. Contact us today to request an appointment.