Have you ever performed a double take when you checked your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the consequence of extreme weather events, consistently high bills can quickly suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy because of other means, like drafty windows or poor insulation.
One of the simplest ways to determine whether your home is consuming too much 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 all about home energy audits, including what they are and their benefits.
What Is a Home Energy Audit
An energy audit is a thorough inspection of how much energy your home uses and whether – and where – your home might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will review past energy bills during an energy audit to figure out where energy is being used and how much.
The ultimate goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by recommending energy-efficient updates, which may include swapping out your existing HVAC system, installing new insulation, plugging 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 completes a blower door test on doorways, windows and fireplaces to figure out if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also check your home’s HVAC system, which also includes the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some assessments might also include inspecting your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be hard for the typical homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is versus other similar homes in their area. However, local energy companies often offer information about where your home is ranked 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 completed.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to learn more about how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it can cause a significant increase in your energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to stay on longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Improvements
An energy audit should reveal where you need to make energy-efficient changes to conserve energy and lower utility bills. This can include replacing old weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Allowing air to leak into your home through doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to build up, which could negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can exacerbate health issues, especially for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Adding to Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by demonstrating to prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit independently may not be as detailed as choosing a professional, it’ll give you a general understanding 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 hire a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Examine your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, leading to higher energy bills and greater wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to close 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 in Lake Forest to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase your energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where you can find a draft, such as 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.
- 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 the ventilation. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and check for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC experts at 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Lake Forest with quality home services for a long time. Contact us today to set up an appointment.