Have you ever performed a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the result of intense weather events, repeatedly high bills can also suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy by other means, including drafty windows or inadequate insulation.
One of the simplest ways to identify whether your home is consuming too much energy is by hiring a home service specialist 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 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 find out 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 suggesting energy-efficient renovations, which can include exchanging your existing HVAC system, installing new insulation, closing 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 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, 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 tough for the typical homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, local energy companies often provide information about where your home stands when compared with similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This could be a good starting point to determine 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 beneficial to understand how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it can lead to a sizable increase in your energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to stay on longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Improvements
An energy audit should reveal where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to conserve energy and decrease utility bills. This might include replacing worn weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Permitting air to slip into your home through doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to appear, which can negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can cause health problems, particularly for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Increasing Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are sought after by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by telling possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit independently may not be as detailed as choosing a professional, it’ll offer a generalized sense of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any flaws during the DIY test, then you probably don’t need to call in a professional. Follow this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, resulting in more expensive energy bills and increased wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you notice leaks, use duct tape to close them. If your HVAC equipment is old and inefficient, upgrading to a new system can save you a significant amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it is better to contact a reputable HVAC company in Newton to inspect your system.
- Look for air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise the 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 look for air leaks in 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. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Brookwood Inc for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC pros at Brookwood Inc today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Newton with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.