Did you perform a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the result of intense weather conditions, repeatedly high bills can quickly signify an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy by other means, such as drafty windows or poor insulation.
An easy way to figure out whether your home is wasting energy is by hiring a home service expert 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 consumes and whether – and where – your home might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at past energy bills while completing an energy audit to figure out 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 renovations, which can include swapping out your current HVAC system, putting in new insulation, closing up leaks, or replacing loose windows.
Over the course of 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 check your home’s HVAC system, including the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some assessments could 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 neighborhood. However, many 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 compared to your neighbors’ homes. This is a good starting point to figure out if you need an energy audit completed.
Some of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing 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 damaged, it can cause a significant increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to stay on longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Improvements
An energy audit will outline where you need to make energy-efficient changes to conserve energy and decrease utility bills. This may include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or getting a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Permitting air to slip into your home via doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to build up, which may negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can lead to health issues, particularly for people who have asthma or allergies.
Adding to Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are desired by homebuyers. You can sell your home more quickly or for more money by showing 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 thorough as hiring a professional, it’ll give you a general sense of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any problems during the DIY test, then you probably don’t need to hire a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, contributing to steeper energy bills and greater strain on HVAC equipment. If you discover leaks, use duct tape to plug 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 can be better to hire a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of 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, including along the edge of flooring and close to 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.
- 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. Make sure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Home Furniture, Plumbing & Heating for a Professional Energy Audit
If you are interested in professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC experts at Home Furniture, Plumbing & Heating today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Kankakee with quality home services for years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.