Have you ever performed a double take when you checked your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the end result of intense weather conditions, persistently high bills can often signify an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy by other means, like drafty windows or inadequate insulation.
One of the easiest ways to figure out whether your home is consuming too much energy is by hiring a home service professional to carry out 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 custom 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 in the course of an energy audit to find out where energy is being consumed and how much.
The general goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by recommending energy-efficient renovations, which may include replacing your current HVAC system, putting in new insulation, sealing 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 completes a blower door test on doorways, windows and fireplaces to figure out if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also evaluate your home’s HVAC system, as well as the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Exhaustive assessments may also include reviewing your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be hard for the ordinary homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is versus other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, many energy companies often provide information about where your home is ranked when compared with similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This could be a good starting point to decide if you need an energy audit completed.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Understanding 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, it will result in a sizable increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to work longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Improvements
An energy audit should expose where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to cut back on energy and decrease utility bills. This can include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Allowing air to leak into your home via doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to form, which can negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can cause health issues, especially for people dealing with 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 demonstrating to possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit on your own may not be as comprehensive as calling a professional, it’ll offer you a broad sense of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any flaws during the DIY test, then you probably don’t need to call in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, contributing to more expensive energy bills and excess wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you notice leaks, use duct tape to plug them. If your HVAC equipment is old and inefficient, upgrading to a new system can save you a substantial amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it can be better to hire a reputable HVAC company in Greater Richmond to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase your energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where there is a draft, like 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.
- 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 the ventilation. Make sure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and check for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC experts at Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of Greater Richmond with quality home services for years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.