Did you perform a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? Even though high energy bills can be the consequence of extreme weather conditions, consistently high bills can also suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy through other means, such as drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether your home is wasting energy is by getting a home service professional to complete a home energy audit, also known 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 consumes and whether – and where – your home might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through previous energy bills during an energy audit to determine 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 improvements, which might include swapping out your existing HVAC system, installing new insulation, closing up leaks, or replacing loose windows.
While completing the energy assessment, the auditor performs an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor will perform 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, which also includes the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some assessments may also include inspecting your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be tough for the average homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is compared to other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, lots of energy companies often offer information about where your home ranks in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient in contrast with your neighbors’ homes. This can be a great starting point to decide if you need an energy audit performed.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Understanding How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s worthwhile to learn more about how efficient your home is and where you’re using the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it will result in a sizable increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to work longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit will expose where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to conserve energy and lower utility bills. This can include replacing old weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Enabling air to leak into your home via doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to appear, which may negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can cause health issues, particularly for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are sought after by homebuyers. You can sell your home more quickly or for more money by demonstrating to prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although completing an energy audit independently might not be as detailed as choosing a professional, it’ll give you a broad sense of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any flaws during the DIY test, then you probably don’t need to hire a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, leading to steeper energy bills and greater strain on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to eliminate 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 call a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase monthly energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where there is a draft, including 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.
- 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. Ensure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and check for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Contra Costa Heating & AC for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC experts at Contra Costa Heating & AC today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to request an appointment.