Did you perform a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the consequence of severe weather events, persistently high bills can also indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy by other means, such as drafty windows or poor insulation.
One of the simplest ways to identify whether your home is using too much energy is by getting a home service specialist to complete a home energy audit, also known as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to learn all 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 and whether – and where – your home could be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at previous energy bills in the course of an energy audit to determine where energy is being wasted 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 might include exchanging your current HVAC system, adding new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing loose windows.
While completing the energy assessment, the auditor also completes an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor performs 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, as well as the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Exhaustive assessments could also include checking your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be hard for the typical homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their community. However, lots of energy companies often provide information about where your home ranks when compared with similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient in contrast with your neighbors’ homes. This can be a great starting point to determine if you need an energy audit scheduled.
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 using the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it will lead to 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 Improvements
An energy audit will expose where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to save on energy and lower utility bills. This might include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Permitting air to leak into your home via doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to form, which can negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can cause health issues, particularly for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Adding to Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by telling prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although completing an energy audit by yourself will not be as detailed as calling a professional, it’ll offer a broad understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any problems during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to bring in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, contributing to higher energy bills and greater strain on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to plug them. If your HVAC equipment is old and inefficient, upgrading to a new system can save you a significant amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it can be better to contact a reputable HVAC company in Elk River 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 is a draft, such as along the edge of flooring and along baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can look for air leaks around 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 functioning properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Home Comfort Heating & Air for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help finding out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC pros at Home Comfort Heating & Air today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of Elk River with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.