Ever done a double take when you checked your last energy bill? Even though high energy bills can be the consequence of intense weather conditions, consistently high bills can often signify an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy by other means, including 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 perform a home energy audit, also called a home energy assessment. Keep reading to find out more about home energy audits, including what they are and their advantages.
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 may be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through past energy bills during an energy audit to determine where energy is being consumed and how much.
The general goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by suggesting energy-efficient renovations, which can include exchanging your current HVAC system, installing new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing old windows.
Over the course of 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 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 difficult for the ordinary homeowner to know for certain how efficient their home is versus other similar homes in their area. 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 in contrast with your neighbors’ homes. This is a useful starting point to determine if you need an energy audit performed.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Learning How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s worthwhile 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 air, it can result in a significant increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to work longer to fully heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit can outline where you need to make energy-efficient changes to cut back on energy and reduce utility bills. This can include replacing worn weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Enabling air to leak into your home through doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to appear, which may negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can exacerbate health problems, 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 sooner or for more money by telling prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit by yourself will not be as detailed as choosing a professional, it’ll offer a generalized 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. Follow this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, leading to higher energy bills and increased strain on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to plug them. If your HVAC equipment is old and inefficient, upgrading to a new system can save you a significant amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it is better to hire a reputable HVAC company in Moline 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 could be a draft, like 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 the ventilation. Make sure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Freed Heating & Air Conditioning for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC experts at Freed Heating & Air Conditioning today. We’ve proudly served the residents of Moline with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.