Ever done a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the consequence of extreme weather events, consistently high bills can also indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting 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 hiring a home service specialist to perform 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 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 may be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through past energy bills in the course of an energy audit to find out where energy is being wasted and how much.
The overall goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient updates, which can include replacing your existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, closing up leaks, or replacing drafty windows.
Over the course of 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 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. Comprehensive assessments might also include checking 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 neighborhood. However, local energy companies often provide information about where your home is ranked in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This can be a great starting point to figure out 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 understand how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it could result in a significant increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to stay on longer to fully heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit will outline where you need to make energy-efficient changes to save on energy and reduce utility bills. This might include replacing worn weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Enabling air to leak into your home via doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to build up, which may negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can lead to health conditions, especially for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Adding to Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home much faster or for more money by telling 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 thorough as hiring a professional, it’ll offer you a general understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any issues during the DIY test, then you potentially don’t need to bring in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Examine your HVAC system. Leaky ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, resulting in steeper energy bills and greater strain on HVAC equipment. If you discover leaks, use duct tape to seal 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 is better to hire a reputable HVAC company in West Columbia to inspect your system.
- Check for air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase monthly energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where there could be a draft, such as 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.
- 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. Ensure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help finding out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC experts at Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of West Columbia with quality home services for years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.