Have you ever performed a double take when you checked your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the consequence of extreme weather conditions, repeatedly high bills can often suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy by other means, including drafty windows or poor insulation.
One of the easiest ways to figure out whether your home is consuming too much energy is by hiring a home service specialist to carry out a home energy audit, also referred to as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to find out more about home energy audits, including what they are and their benefits.
What Is a Home Energy Audit
An energy audit is a comprehensive inspection of how much energy your home uses and whether – and where – your home may be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at previous energy bills during an energy audit to find 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 suggesting energy-efficient updates, which can include swapping out your existing HVAC system, installing new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing loose windows.
Over the course of the energy assessment, the auditor performs an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor performs 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, which also includes the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some assessments might also include reviewing your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be hard for the typical homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is versus other similar homes in their area. However, lots of energy companies often supply information about where your home stands in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This could be a good starting point to determine if you need an energy audit completed.
Some of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Learning How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to understand how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it can lead to a large increase in your energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to work longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit will reveal where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to conserve energy and decrease utility bills. This may include replacing worn weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Allowing air to slip into your home through doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to form, which can negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can cause health conditions, 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 much faster or for more money by demonstrating to potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although completing an energy audit by yourself will not be as thorough as hiring a professional, it’ll give you a general idea 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 bring in a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Leaky ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, resulting in higher energy bills and increased wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you notice leaks, use duct tape to close them. If your HVAC equipment is old and wearing down, upgrading to a new system can save you a significant amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it is better to contact a reputable HVAC company in Rapid City 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, like along the edge of flooring and along 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.
- Examine 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 Precision Mechanical for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help finding out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC experts at Precision Mechanical today. We’ve proudly served the residents of Rapid City with quality home services for years. Contact us today to request an appointment.