Ever done a double take when you took a look at your last energy bill? Even though high energy bills can be the consequence of intense weather conditions, persistently high bills can quickly suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy because of other means, including drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the simplest ways to determine whether your home is consuming too much energy is by hiring a home service expert to complete 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 consumes and whether – and where – your home could be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through previous energy bills in the course of an energy audit to find out where energy is being used and how much.
The overall goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by suggesting energy-efficient updates, which might include swapping out your current HVAC system, installing 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 performs a blower door test on doorways, windows and fireplaces to find out 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 may also include inspecting your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the typical homeowner to know for certain how efficient their home is versus other similar homes in their area. However, lots of energy companies often offer information about where your home ranks when compared with 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 figure out if you need an energy audit completed.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Understanding How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s worthwhile to know 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 stay on longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit will expose where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to conserve energy and lower utility bills. This might include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Enabling air to leak into your home via doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to appear, which could negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can lead to health conditions, especially for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are sought after by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by telling potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit on your own might not be as thorough as choosing a professional, it’ll offer you a generalized understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any problems during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to hire a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Inspect your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, resulting in steeper energy bills and greater wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you discover leaks, use duct tape to plug them. If your HVAC equipment is old and wearing down, upgrading to a new system can save you a considerable amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it is better to hire a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Check for air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase monthly 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 look for air leaks in 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 inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Northern Comfort Inc for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC pros at Northern Comfort Inc today. We’ve proudly served the residents of Mankato area with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.