Did you perform a double take when you checked your last energy bill? Even though high energy bills can be the result of severe weather events, repeatedly high bills can also suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy by other means, such as drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether your home is wasting energy is by getting 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 benefits.
What Is a Home Energy Audit
An energy audit is a thorough inspection of how much energy your home uses and whether – and where – your home may be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will review previous energy bills while completing an energy audit to figure out where energy is being used 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 may include swapping out your existing HVAC system, putting in new insulation, sealing 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 will perform 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, as well as the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Comprehensive assessments might also include reviewing your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be hard for the ordinary homeowner to know for certain how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their community. However, local energy companies often offer information about where your home stands when compared with similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This can be a good starting point to decide if you need an energy audit scheduled.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Understanding How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s beneficial to learn more about how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, 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 Improvements
An energy audit will outline where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to conserve energy and reduce utility bills. This might include replacing old weatherstripping or getting a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Allowing 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 impact your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can lead to health issues, especially for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Adding to Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are desired by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by telling possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit by yourself might not be as comprehensive as choosing a professional, it’ll offer a general idea of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any issues during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to hire a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:
- Examine your HVAC system. Leaky ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, contributing to more expensive energy bills and increased strain on HVAC equipment. If you discover leaks, use duct tape to seal 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 contact a reputable HVAC company in Lexington to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of 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, like 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.
- 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 working properly, and check for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact James Heating & A/C, Inc for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help finding out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC experts at James Heating & A/C, Inc today. We’ve proudly served the residents of Lexington with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.