Did you perform a double take when you took a look at your last energy bill? Even though high energy bills can be the end result of severe weather events, repeatedly high bills can often indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy because of other means, such as drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
An easy way to figure out whether your home is consuming too much energy is by hiring a home service expert 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 benefits.
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 might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will review previous energy bills while completing an energy audit to figure out where energy is being consumed and how much.
The general goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by suggesting energy-efficient improvements, which can include exchanging your existing HVAC system, putting in new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing old windows.
During 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 determine if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also inspect your home’s HVAC system, including the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some assessments might also include reviewing your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be hard for the typical homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is versus other similar homes in their community. However, local energy companies often supply 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 great starting point to decide if you need an energy audit completed.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Learning How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s beneficial to know how efficient your home is and where you’re using the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it could cause a sizable increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to run longer to fully heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit can expose where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to conserve energy and decrease utility bills. This may include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Permitting air to seep into your home via doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to appear, which could negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can lead to 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 demonstrating to prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit on your own might not be as comprehensive as hiring a professional, it’ll offer you a broad sense of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any issues during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to call in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, leading to steeper 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 wearing down, upgrading to a new system can save you a considerable amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it can be better to contact a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Look for air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise monthly 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 near baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can inspect for air leaks in 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. Make sure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Pepper AC & Heat for a Professional Energy Audit
If you are interested in professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC experts at Pepper AC & Heat today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Justin with quality home services for a long time. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.