Ever done a double take when you checked your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the result of extreme weather conditions, persistently high bills can quickly signify an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy through other means, including drafty windows or poor insulation.
An easy way to identify whether your home is wasting energy is by getting a home service expert to complete 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 custom inspection of how much energy your home uses and whether – and where – your home could be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will review previous energy bills in the course of an energy audit to find out where energy is being used and how much.
The ultimate goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient improvements, which may include swapping out your existing HVAC system, installing new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing drafty windows.
While completing 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 figure out if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also check your home’s HVAC system, as well as the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Exhaustive assessments may also include checking your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be tough for the average homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is compared to other similar homes in their area. However, local energy companies often offer 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 good starting point to figure out if you need an energy audit completed.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to know how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it could result in a sizable increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to run longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
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 weatherstripping or getting a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Permitting air to seep into your home via doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to appear, which can negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can cause health issues, particularly 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 much faster or for more money by demonstrating to potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit on your own might not be as detailed as choosing a professional, it’ll give you a general sense of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any issues during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to hire a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Inspect your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, leading to steeper energy bills and excess 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 might be better to hire a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise monthly energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where you can find a draft, such as along the edge of flooring and close to 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 Phelps Heating & Cooling, Inc. for a Professional Energy Audit
If you are interested in professional help finding out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC professionals at Phelps Heating & Cooling, Inc. today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of with quality home services for years. Contact us today to request an appointment.