Ever done a double take when you took a look at your last energy bill? Even though high energy bills can be the result of extreme weather conditions, persistently high bills can often indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy because of other means, including drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the easiest ways to figure out whether your home is wasting energy is by calling a home service specialist to perform 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 advantages.
What Is a Home Energy Audit?
An energy audit is a custom inspection of how much energy your home uses up and whether – and where – your home could be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at 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 improvements, which can include exchanging your current HVAC system, installing new insulation, closing up leaks, or replacing drafty 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 evaluate your home’s HVAC system, which also includes the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some assessments could also include inspecting 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 in comparison to other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, lots of energy companies often supply information about where your home ranks in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This can be a great starting point to decide if you need an energy audit scheduled.
A few 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, it could result in a large increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to work longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit should expose where you need to make energy-efficient changes to cut back on energy and decrease utility bills. This might include replacing worn weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Allowing air to slip into your home via doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to build up, which can negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can lead to health conditions, especially for people who have asthma or allergies.
Increasing 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 possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit independently might not be as comprehensive as calling a professional, it’ll offer you a generalized sense of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any problems during the DIY test, then you potentially don’t need to hire a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, resulting in steeper energy bills and increased strain on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to close 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 is better to hire a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Check for air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise monthly 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 along 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.
- 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. 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 want professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC professionals at Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of Greater Richmond with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.