Have you ever performed a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the consequence of intense weather events, persistently high bills can often suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy because of other means, including drafty windows or inadequate insulation.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether your home is wasting energy is by calling a home service professional to complete 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 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 could be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at previous energy bills while completing an energy audit to determine where energy is being wasted and how much.
The general goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by recommending energy-efficient updates, which might include swapping out your current HVAC system, adding new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing loose windows.
While completing the energy assessment, the auditor also completes 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, which also includes the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Exhaustive assessments may also include inspecting your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the ordinary homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their area. However, lots of energy companies often provide information about where your home stands in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient compared to your neighbors’ homes. This could be a great starting point to determine if you need an energy audit performed.
Several 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 can cause a significant increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to work longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit can expose where you need to make energy-efficient changes to conserve energy and decrease utility bills. This can include replacing old weatherstripping or installing 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 unwanted moisture to build up, which can negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can lead to health issues, especially for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Increasing Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are desired by homebuyers. You can sell your home much faster or for more money by telling prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although completing an energy audit independently may not be as thorough as calling a professional, it’ll offer a generalized sense of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any problems during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to hire a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Inspect your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, resulting in higher energy bills and increased wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you discover leaks, use duct tape to eliminate 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 might be better to call a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Check for air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase the 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 look for air leaks along 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 ventilation. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are spinning properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact GV Heating & Air for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC experts at GV Heating & Air today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Crystal and Twin Cities with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.