Did you perform a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? Even though high energy bills can be the consequence of severe weather events, persistently high bills can quickly indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy because of other means, like drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
An easy way to determine whether your home is consuming too much energy is by getting a home service specialist to carry out a home energy audit, also called 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 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 during an energy audit to figure out 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 recommending energy-efficient updates, which may include swapping out your current HVAC system, installing new insulation, plugging 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 performs 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, as well as 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 tough for the typical homeowner to know for certain how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their community. However, lots of energy companies often provide information about where your home ranks in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient compared to your neighbors’ homes. This can be a useful starting point to determine if you need an energy audit performed.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Understanding How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s beneficial to understand how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it can lead to 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 can reveal where you need to make energy-efficient changes to save on energy and reduce utility bills. This might include replacing worn weatherstripping or getting a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Allowing air to slip into your home through doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to build up, which could negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can lead to health conditions, especially for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Increasing Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home much faster or for more money by demonstrating to possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit on your own will not be as comprehensive as choosing a professional, it’ll give you a general idea 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 hire a professional. Follow 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 greater wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you notice leaks, use duct tape to close them. If your HVAC equipment is old and inefficient, upgrading to a new system can save you a considerable amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it can be better to hire a reputable HVAC company in Marshalltown to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise your energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where there is a draft, such as 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.
- 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 working properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Kapaun & Brown Inc. for a Professional Energy Audit
If you are interested in professional help finding out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC pros at Kapaun & Brown Inc. today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Marshalltown with quality home services for years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.