Did you perform a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the consequence of intense weather conditions, consistently high bills can often suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy because of other means, such as drafty windows or poor insulation.
An easy way to figure out whether your home is using too much energy is by getting a home service professional to carry out a home energy audit, also known as 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 uses up and whether – and where – your home may be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through older energy bills while completing an energy audit to figure out where energy is being wasted and how much.
The overall goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient improvements, which may include replacing your existing HVAC system, adding new insulation, closing up leaks, or replacing drafty windows.
Over the course of the energy assessment, the auditor performs an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor completes a blower door test on doorways, windows and fireplaces to figure out if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also inspect your home’s HVAC system, which also includes 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 certain how efficient their home is versus other similar homes in their community. However, many energy companies often provide information about where your home is ranked when compared with similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This is a good starting point to figure out if you need an energy audit scheduled.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to understand how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it can lead to a large 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 should reveal where you need to make energy-efficient changes to save on energy and reduce utility bills. This may include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Allowing air to seep into your home through doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to form, which may negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can lead to health issues, particularly for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Adding to Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home more quickly or for more money by telling potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit on your own may not be as thorough as choosing a professional, it’ll give you a general understanding 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 call in a professional. Follow this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Leaky ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, leading to steeper energy bills and greater wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you find 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 is better to hire a reputable HVAC company in York 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, such as along the edge of flooring and along 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 check for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Strine's Heating & Air Conditioning for a Professional Energy Audit
If you are interested in professional help finding out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC experts at Strine's Heating & Air Conditioning today. We’ve proudly served the residents of York with quality home services for years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.