Have you ever performed a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the result of severe weather events, consistently high bills can quickly indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy because of other means, including drafty windows or inadequate insulation.
An easy way to figure out whether your home is wasting energy is by getting a home service specialist to perform a home energy audit, also known as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to find out more about home energy audits, including what they are and their key elements.
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 might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at previous energy bills while completing an energy audit to find out where energy is being consumed 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 exchanging your existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, closing up leaks, or replacing old windows.
During the energy assessment, the auditor carries out an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor will perform a blower door test on doorways, windows and fireplaces to determine if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also inspect 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 tough for the typical homeowner to know for certain how efficient their home is versus other similar homes in their community. However, local energy companies often offer information about where your home is ranked in comparison to 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 scheduled.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s worthwhile to understand how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it could lead to a sizable increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to stay on longer to fully heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit can expose where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to conserve energy and lower utility bills. This may include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Enabling air to slip into your home through doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to appear, which can negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can cause health issues, particularly for people who have asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by showing possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit by yourself will not be as detailed as hiring a professional, it’ll offer a generalized idea of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any flaws during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to hire a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Examine your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, contributing to higher energy bills and greater wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you notice leaks, use duct tape to seal them. If your HVAC equipment is old and wearing down, upgrading to a new system can save you a substantial amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it might be better to contact a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Look for air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase your energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where you can find a draft, like along the edge of flooring and along baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can look for air leaks around 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 ventilation. Ensure 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 figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC pros at Northern Comfort Inc today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.