Did you perform a double take when you checked your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the result of extreme weather conditions, repeatedly high bills can often suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy through other means, like drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the simplest ways to identify whether your home is consuming too much energy is by getting a home service specialist to carry out a home energy audit, also called a home energy assessment. Keep reading to learn all about home energy audits, including what they are and their benefits.
What Is a Home Energy Audit?
An energy audit is a custom inspection of how much energy your home consumes and whether – and where – your home might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will review past energy bills while completing an energy audit to determine where energy is being wasted and how much.
The overall goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient updates, which can include exchanging your current HVAC system, putting in new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing drafty 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 may also include inspecting your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be tough for the average homeowner to know for certain 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 ranks in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient compared to your neighbors’ homes. This could be a useful starting point to determine if you need an energy audit completed.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing 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 air, it will cause a significant increase in your energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to stay on longer to fully heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit will expose where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to conserve energy and decrease utility bills. This may include replacing old weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Permitting air to leak into your home via doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to build up, which may negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can cause health conditions, especially for people who have asthma or allergies.
Adding to Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are desired by homebuyers. You can sell your home more quickly or for more money by demonstrating to prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit by yourself will not be as comprehensive as hiring a professional, it’ll offer a broad idea of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any problems during the DIY test, then you probably don’t need to bring in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Inspect your HVAC system. Leaky ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, contributing to more expensive energy bills and increased strain 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 can be better to contact a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase the energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where you can find 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.
- 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 ventilation. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are spinning properly, and check for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Precision Mechanical for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC pros at Precision Mechanical today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of with quality home services for years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.