Ever done a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the consequence of extreme weather events, persistently high bills can quickly suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy by other means, including drafty windows or poor insulation.
One of the easiest ways to identify whether your home is wasting energy is by getting a home service expert to perform a home energy audit, also known as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to find out more 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 go through past energy bills in the course of an energy audit to figure out where energy is being consumed and how much.
The ultimate goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by recommending energy-efficient renovations, which may include exchanging your current HVAC system, putting in new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing loose windows.
During the energy assessment, the auditor also completes an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor will perform a blower door test on doorways, windows and fireplaces to figure out 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. Some assessments may also include inspecting your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the ordinary homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, local 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 in contrast with your neighbors’ homes. This can be a useful starting point to figure out if you need an energy audit scheduled.
Some of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Understanding How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to learn more about how efficient your home is and where you’re using the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it can lead to a sizable increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to work longer to fully heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit should expose where you need to make energy-efficient changes to save on energy and reduce utility bills. This can include replacing worn weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Permitting air to slip into your home through doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to form, which may negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can cause health issues, especially for people who have asthma or allergies.
Adding to Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are sought after by homebuyers. You can sell your home much faster or for more money by telling potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit by yourself may not be as thorough as hiring a professional, it’ll offer a generalized idea of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any issues during the DIY test, then you probably don’t need to hire a professional. Follow this step-by-step checklist:
- Examine your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, resulting in steeper energy bills and increased strain on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to eliminate 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 can be better to call a reputable HVAC company in Portland to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise your 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 near 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.
- 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. Ensure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are spinning properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Three Rivers Heating & Cooling 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 Three Rivers Heating & Cooling today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Portland with quality home services for years. Contact us today to request an appointment.