Have you ever performed a double take when you checked your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the result of extreme weather conditions, persistently high bills can quickly signify an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy because of other means, including drafty windows or poor insulation.
One of the simplest ways to determine whether your home is consuming too much energy is by calling a home service professional to carry out a home energy audit, also referred to as 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 consumes and whether – and where – your home may be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at previous energy bills during an energy audit to determine where energy is being consumed 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 exchanging your current HVAC system, adding new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing old windows.
During the energy assessment, the auditor also completes an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor performs a blower door test on doorways, windows and fireplaces to find out 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. Comprehensive assessments might also include inspecting 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 in comparison to other similar homes in their community. However, lots of energy companies often supply 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 useful starting point to determine if you need an energy audit scheduled.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Understanding How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s beneficial to know how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it can lead to a sizable increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to stay on longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit should outline where you need to make energy-efficient changes to save on energy and reduce utility bills. This might include replacing old weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Permitting air to slip into your home through doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to form, which could negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can exacerbate health conditions, particularly for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home more quickly or for more money by showing prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit by yourself might not be as comprehensive as calling a professional, it’ll offer a general idea of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any issues during the DIY test, then you potentially don’t need to bring in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, leading to steeper energy bills and greater wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you discover leaks, use duct tape to plug them. If your HVAC equipment is old and wearing down, upgrading to a new system can save you a significant amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it is better to call a reputable HVAC company in Manassas to inspect your system.
- Look for air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise 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 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 ventilation. Make sure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are spinning properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Air-Right Energy Design, 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 pros at Air-Right Energy Design, Inc. today. We’ve proudly served the residents of Manassas with quality home services for years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.