Did you perform a double take when you checked your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the end result of severe weather events, consistently high bills can also signify an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy because of other means, such as drafty windows or poor insulation.
One of the easiest ways to identify whether your home is wasting energy is by getting a home service expert to carry out a home energy audit, also called 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 consumes and whether – and where – your home may be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through previous energy bills while completing an energy audit to figure 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 recommending energy-efficient updates, which might include swapping out your existing HVAC system, putting in new insulation, closing up leaks, or replacing old windows.
During the energy assessment, the auditor also completes 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, as well as the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some assessments might also include inspecting your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be tough for the ordinary homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their area. However, local energy companies often provide 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 is a useful starting point to determine if you need an energy audit completed.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s worthwhile to know how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are damaged, it can result in a significant increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to work longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit should reveal where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to cut back on energy and lower utility bills. This can include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Allowing air to leak into your home through doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to appear, which can negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can cause health problems, especially for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Raising 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 telling prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although completing an energy audit on your own will not be as thorough as hiring a professional, it’ll give you 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 call in a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose nearly 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 eliminate 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 is better to hire a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase monthly 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 near baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can look 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 spinning properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Farnell Mechanical, Inc. for a Professional Energy Audit
If you are interested in professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC pros at Farnell Mechanical, Inc. today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of with quality home services for a long time. Contact us today to request an appointment.