Ever done a double take when you checked your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the end result of severe weather conditions, consistently high bills can quickly indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy through other means, like drafty windows or poor insulation.
An easy way to determine whether your home is wasting energy is by getting a home service specialist to complete a home energy audit, also known as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to learn more about home energy audits, including what they are and their key elements.
What Is a Home Energy Audit
An energy audit is a comprehensive 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 in the course of an energy audit to determine 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 renovations, which may include exchanging your existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing loose windows.
While completing 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 figure out if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also evaluate your home’s HVAC system, including the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Exhaustive assessments could also include reviewing 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 versus other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, many energy companies often provide 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 is a good starting point to determine if you need an energy audit completed.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s beneficial to know how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it could cause a large increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to run longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Improvements
An energy audit will outline where you need to make energy-efficient changes to cut back on energy and lower utility bills. This may include replacing worn weatherstripping or getting a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Permitting air to leak into your home through doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to build up, which may negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can exacerbate health issues, especially for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are sought after by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by showing possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit independently will not be as detailed as calling a professional, it’ll give you a general idea of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any flaws during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to hire a professional. Follow this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, resulting in steeper energy bills and greater wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you discover 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 hire a reputable HVAC company in Pacheco 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 could be a draft, including along the edge of flooring and along baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can inspect for air leaks along 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. Ensure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Clean Air HVAC 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 Clean Air HVAC today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Pacheco with quality home services for years. Contact us today to request an appointment.