Ever done a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the consequence of intense weather events, repeatedly high bills can often suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy by other means, including drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether your home is consuming too much energy is by hiring a home service expert to complete 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 thorough inspection of how much energy your home uses up and whether – and where – your home may be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at previous energy bills during an energy audit to find out where energy is being used and how much.
The overall goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by suggesting energy-efficient updates, which might include exchanging your current HVAC system, putting in new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing drafty windows.
Over the course of the energy assessment, the auditor carries out an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor completes 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, including the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Comprehensive assessments may also include inspecting your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be hard for the average homeowner to know for certain how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their area. However, local energy companies often provide 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 can be a good starting point to figure out if you need an energy audit scheduled.
A few 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 up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are damaged, it can cause a large increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to work longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit will expose where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to conserve energy and lower utility bills. This may include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Allowing air to slip into your home via doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to form, which could negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can cause health conditions, particularly for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Increasing Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home more quickly or for more money by demonstrating to potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although completing an energy audit independently will not be as thorough as calling a professional, it’ll offer a general sense of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any flaws during the DIY test, then you potentially don’t need to call in a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, resulting in more expensive energy bills and increased strain on HVAC equipment. If you notice leaks, use duct tape to plug 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 might be better to contact a reputable HVAC company in Columbus to inspect your system.
- Look for air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase your energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where there could be a draft, such as 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 ventilation. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Wolfe & Sons Heating and Cooling for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC pros at Wolfe & Sons Heating and Cooling today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Columbus with quality home services for years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.