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, repeatedly high bills can also suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy by other means, including drafty windows or poor insulation.
One of the simplest ways to determine whether your home is consuming too much energy is by calling a home service specialist to perform a home energy audit, also called 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 comprehensive inspection of how much energy your home uses up 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 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 existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing loose windows.
While completing the energy assessment, the auditor carries out an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor performs 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, which also includes the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Comprehensive assessments may also include checking your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be tough for the ordinary homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their community. However, many energy companies often offer information about where your home ranks in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient compared to your neighbors’ homes. This could be a good starting point to decide if you need an energy audit performed.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s worthwhile to know how efficient your home is and where you’re using the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it could cause a large increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to work longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit can expose where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to cut back on energy and reduce utility bills. This may include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Permitting air to seep into your home through doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to appear, which may negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can lead to health issues, especially for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Increasing Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are desired by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner 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 independently may not be as detailed as choosing a professional, it’ll offer a general understanding 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 call in a professional. Follow this step-by-step checklist:
- Examine your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, resulting in higher energy bills and greater wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you discover leaks, use duct tape to close them. If your HVAC equipment is old and wearing down, upgrading to a new system can save you a considerable amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it might be better to hire a reputable HVAC company in Kearney 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 you can find a draft, such as 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.
- 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 Thurston Heating & Air Conditioning for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC pros at Thurston Heating & Air Conditioning today. We’ve proudly served the residents of Kearney with quality home services for years. Contact us today to request an appointment.