Did you perform a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the result of intense weather events, persistently high bills can often indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy because of other means, including drafty windows or poor insulation.
An easy way to figure out whether your home is using too much energy is by hiring a home service professional to perform a home energy audit, also called a home energy assessment. Keep reading to learn all 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 could be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will review past energy bills while completing an energy audit to determine where energy is being used and how much.
The general goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by suggesting energy-efficient updates, which can include replacing your existing HVAC system, putting in 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 determine 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 could also include reviewing your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the average homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is versus other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, local energy companies often offer 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 is a useful starting point to decide if you need an energy audit performed.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Understanding How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to understand how efficient your home is and where you’re using the most energy. For example, if your ducts are damaged, it will cause a large increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to stay on longer to fully heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit can outline where you need to make energy-efficient changes to conserve energy and reduce utility bills. This might include replacing worn weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Allowing air to seep into your home via doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to build up, which may negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can lead to health conditions, particularly for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Adding to Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are desired by homebuyers. You can sell your home much faster or for more money by showing possible 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 comprehensive as choosing a professional, it’ll offer a broad idea 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 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, contributing to steeper energy bills and greater strain on HVAC equipment. If you discover leaks, use duct tape to seal them. If your HVAC equipment is old and inefficient, upgrading to a new system can save you a substantial amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it can be better to call a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Check for air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise the 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 along 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. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and check for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Aggressive Mechanical for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC pros at Aggressive Mechanical today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.