Have you ever performed a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the consequence of severe weather conditions, repeatedly high bills can often suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy because of other means, including drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the simplest ways to identify whether your home is wasting energy is by calling a home service specialist to perform 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 benefits.
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 take a look at previous energy bills in the course of an energy audit to find out where energy is being consumed and how much.
The general goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by recommending energy-efficient renovations, which can include exchanging your current HVAC system, putting in 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 will perform a blower door test on doorways, windows and fireplaces to determine if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also check your home’s HVAC system, which also includes the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some assessments could also include inspecting your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be hard for the ordinary homeowner to know for certain how efficient their home is compared to other similar homes in their community. However, local energy companies often offer information about where your home is ranked when compared with similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This is a useful starting point to determine 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 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 result in a significant increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to stay on longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit can expose where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to save on energy and decrease utility bills. This can include replacing old weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Enabling air to slip into your home via doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to form, which can negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can exacerbate health conditions, especially for people who have asthma or allergies.
Adding to Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are desired by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by telling prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit by yourself may not be as comprehensive as hiring a professional, it’ll offer you a broad understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any issues during the DIY test, then you probably don’t need to call in a professional. Try 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 increased strain on HVAC equipment. If you notice leaks, use duct tape to eliminate 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 is better to call a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase the 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 close to baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can look 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. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are spinning properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact HCE Systems for a Professional Energy Audit
If you are interested in professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC professionals at HCE Systems today. We’ve proudly served the residents of Norton with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to request an appointment.