Ever done a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? Even though high energy bills can be the consequence of severe weather events, repeatedly high bills can often indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy through other means, such as drafty windows or poor insulation.
One of the easiest ways to identify whether your home is using too much energy is by hiring a home service professional to perform 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 key elements.
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 could be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at previous energy bills in the course of an energy audit to find out where energy is being wasted 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, installing new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing drafty windows.
While completing the energy assessment, the auditor carries out 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 evaluate your home’s HVAC system, which also includes the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Comprehensive assessments may also include reviewing 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 compared to 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 in contrast with your neighbors’ homes. This can be a good starting point to figure out if you need an energy audit performed.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Learning How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s worthwhile to understand how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it can cause a sizable increase in your energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to work longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit should outline where you need to make energy-efficient changes to cut back on energy and lower utility bills. This might include replacing worn weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Enabling air to leak into your home through doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to appear, which could negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can lead to health issues, 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 much faster or for more money by demonstrating to potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit on your own will not be as comprehensive as choosing a professional, it’ll give you a general understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any issues during the DIY test, then you probably don’t need to bring in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Inspect your HVAC system. Leaky ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, leading to steeper energy bills and increased wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you notice leaks, use duct tape to seal them. If your HVAC equipment is old and inefficient, upgrading to a new system can save you a substantial amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it is better to contact a reputable HVAC company in Front Royal to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase the energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where you can find a draft, including 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. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Dave's Diversified Services for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC pros at Dave's Diversified Services today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of Front Royal with quality home services for years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.