Have you ever performed a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the end result of severe weather conditions, repeatedly high bills can also suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy through other means, such as drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether your home is wasting energy is by getting a home service expert to carry out a home energy audit, also referred to as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to learn all about home energy audits, including what they are and their key elements.
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 might 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 consumed and how much.
The ultimate goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient updates, which might include swapping out your existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing old windows.
While completing 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 check your home’s HVAC system, as well as the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some assessments could also include reviewing your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be tough for the typical homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is compared to 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 versus your neighbors’ homes. This can be a useful starting point to determine if you need an energy audit performed.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to know how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it can lead to a significant increase in your energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to stay on longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Improvements
An energy audit should expose where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to conserve energy and decrease utility bills. This may 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 could negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can exacerbate health conditions, particularly for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are sought after by homebuyers. You can sell your home much faster or for more money by showing potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit independently may not be as comprehensive as calling a professional, it’ll offer you a general idea of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any flaws during the DIY test, then you potentially don’t need to hire a professional. Follow this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, resulting in steeper energy bills and greater strain on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to close 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 call a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Look for air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise your 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 near baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can inspect 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. Make sure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are spinning properly, and check for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Cooks Air Conditioning and Heating Specialists 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 experts at Cooks Air Conditioning and Heating Specialists today. We’ve proudly served the residents of Palm Coast with quality home services for years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.