Have you ever performed a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the result of intense weather events, consistently high bills can also suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy through other means, like drafty windows or inadequate insulation.
One of the simplest ways to identify whether your home is using too much energy is by calling a home service expert to complete a home energy audit, also referred to as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to find out more about home energy audits, including what they are and their advantages.
What Is a Home Energy Audit?
An energy audit is a custom inspection of how much energy your home consumes and whether – and where – your home may be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through previous energy bills in the course of an energy audit to determine where energy is being wasted and how much.
The overall goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by suggesting energy-efficient renovations, which might include replacing your existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing old windows.
Over the course of the energy assessment, the auditor also completes an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor completes 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 could also include checking your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the typical homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is compared to other similar homes in their community. However, local energy companies often supply information about where your home ranks when compared with similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This can be a useful starting point to decide if you need an energy audit completed.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s beneficial to understand 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 large increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to work longer to fully heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit will expose where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to conserve energy and reduce utility bills. This may include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or getting a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Allowing air to slip into your home via doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to appear, which could negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can cause health issues, particularly for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Adding to Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home much faster or for more money by telling potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although completing an energy audit on your own may not be as detailed as hiring a professional, it’ll offer a generalized understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any issues during the DIY test, then you potentially don’t need to bring in a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Leaky ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, leading to steeper 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 can be better to contact 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, like along the edge of flooring and along baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can look for air leaks around 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 the ventilation. Ensure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are spinning properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact TopTec for a Professional Energy Audit
If you are interested in professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC pros at TopTec today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of with quality home services for years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.