Did you perform a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? Even though high energy bills can be the end result of intense weather events, persistently high bills can quickly suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy by other means, like drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the simplest ways to identify whether your home is wasting energy is by hiring a home service expert to complete a home energy audit, also referred to as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to learn more about home energy audits, including what they are and their advantages.
What Is a Home Energy Audit?
An energy audit is a thorough inspection of how much energy your home uses up and whether – and where – your home might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through previous energy bills in the course of an energy audit to figure 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 renovations, which may include replacing your current HVAC system, adding new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing old 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 inspect your home’s HVAC system, including the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Exhaustive assessments might also include checking your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be tough for the average homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is versus other similar homes in their community. However, local energy companies often supply information about where your home stands when compared with similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient compared to your neighbors’ homes. This is a good starting point to decide if you need an energy audit scheduled.
Some of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Understanding How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s beneficial to know how efficient your home is and where you’re using the most energy. For example, if your ducts are damaged, it could cause a sizable increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to run longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Improvements
An energy audit will outline where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to cut back on energy and lower utility bills. This may include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Permitting air to slip into your home through doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to form, which may negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can lead to health problems, 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 much faster or for more money by demonstrating to prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit on your own might not be as comprehensive as calling a professional, it’ll give you a general understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any problems during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to call in a professional. Follow this step-by-step checklist:
- Examine your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, leading to higher energy bills and greater wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to plug 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.
- 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 could be a draft, like along the edge of flooring and close to 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.
- 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 ventilation. Make sure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and check for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Gopher Heating and Air Conditioning 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 Gopher Heating and Air Conditioning today. We’ve proudly served the residents of Savage with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.