Did you perform a double take when you took a look at your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the result of severe weather conditions, persistently high bills can often indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy by other means, including drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the simplest ways to determine whether your home is consuming too much energy is by hiring a home service professional to carry out 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 key elements.
What Is a Home Energy Audit?
An energy audit is a thorough inspection of how much energy your home uses and whether – and where – your home may be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through past energy bills during an energy audit to figure out 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 suggesting energy-efficient updates, which may include exchanging your current HVAC system, installing new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing drafty windows.
Over the course of the energy assessment, the auditor performs 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 check your home’s HVAC system, including the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some assessments might also include reviewing your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the ordinary homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their area. However, local energy companies often supply information about where your home stands in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient compared to your neighbors’ homes. This could be a useful starting point to determine if you need an energy audit completed.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Understanding How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to know how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it can lead to a significant increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to run longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Improvements
An energy audit should outline where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to cut back on energy and lower utility bills. This might include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Permitting air to leak into your home through doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to build up, which can negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can cause health problems, particularly for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Increasing Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by showing potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit by yourself will not be as detailed as hiring a professional, it’ll give you a generalized sense of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any flaws during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to call in a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, contributing to higher energy bills and excess wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you notice leaks, use duct tape to eliminate them. If your HVAC equipment is old and wearing down, upgrading to a new system can save you a substantial amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it might be 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 you can find a draft, including along the edge of flooring and near 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 ventilation. Ensure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and check for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Booneville Heating & Cooling for a Professional Energy Audit
If you are interested in professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC professionals at Booneville Heating & Cooling today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of with quality home services for a long time. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.