Ever done 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 indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy because of other means, such as drafty windows or inadequate 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 benefits.
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 might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at 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 recommending energy-efficient updates, which may include exchanging your existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing drafty 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 figure out if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also inspect your home’s HVAC system, as well as the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Exhaustive assessments may also include inspecting your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the average homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is versus other similar homes in their area. However, local energy companies often offer information about where your home stands when compared with similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This is a good starting point to decide if you need an energy audit scheduled.
Several 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 using up 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 as it has to work longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit should outline where you need to make energy-efficient changes to cut back on energy and decrease utility bills. This can include replacing old weatherstripping or getting a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Enabling air to seep into your home through doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to form, which could negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can cause health conditions, 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 sooner or for more money by telling potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit on your own will 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 find any problems during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to bring in a professional. Follow this step-by-step checklist:
- Inspect your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, resulting in steeper energy bills and excess wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to seal 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 is better to hire 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, including along the edge of flooring and close to baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can inspect 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. Ensure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and check for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Knoechel Heating for a Professional Energy Audit
If you are interested in professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC professionals at Knoechel Heating today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.