Ever done a double take when you took a look at your last energy bill? Even though high energy bills can be the result of severe weather conditions, repeatedly high bills can often indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy because of other means, like drafty windows or inadequate insulation.
One of the easiest ways to figure out whether your home is using too much energy is by hiring a home service expert to carry out a home energy audit, also called 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 take a look at past energy bills while completing 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 recommending energy-efficient improvements, which might include replacing your current HVAC system, putting in new insulation, closing 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 will perform 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. Comprehensive assessments could also include checking your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be tough for the ordinary homeowner to know for certain how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, lots of 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 in contrast with your neighbors’ homes. This could be a useful starting point to determine if you need an energy audit performed.
A few 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 will result in a sizable increase in your energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to stay on longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit should reveal where you need to make energy-efficient changes to save on energy and decrease utility bills. This can include replacing old weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Permitting air to seep into your home through doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to build up, which may negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can lead to 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 telling prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit on your own will not be as comprehensive as hiring a professional, it’ll offer a broad idea of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any problems during the DIY test, then you potentially don’t need to hire a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, leading to steeper energy bills and greater strain on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to plug 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 can be better to hire a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of 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, like along the edge of flooring and close to 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.
- 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. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Lakeside Heating & Air for a Professional Energy Audit
If you are interested in professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC pros at Lakeside Heating & Air today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Chelan and Wenatchee with quality home services for years. Contact us today to request an appointment.