Ever done a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the end result of severe weather conditions, consistently high bills can often indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy through other means, including drafty windows or inadequate insulation.
One of the easiest ways to identify whether your home is consuming too much energy is by calling a home service professional to complete a home energy audit, also referred to as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to find out more about home energy audits, including what they are and their key elements.
What Is a Home Energy Audit
An energy audit is a thorough 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 previous energy bills while completing 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 recommending energy-efficient improvements, which might include replacing your current HVAC system, adding new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing drafty windows.
While completing the energy assessment, the auditor carries out 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 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 inspecting your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the average homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is compared to other similar homes in their area. However, local energy companies often provide 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 could be a good starting point to determine if you need an energy audit performed.
Some of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to learn more about how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are damaged, it can cause a significant increase in your energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to work longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit should reveal where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to conserve energy and reduce utility bills. This can include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Allowing air to seep into your home through doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to appear, which may negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can cause health conditions, particularly for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Increasing Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are sought after by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by telling potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although completing an energy audit independently will not be as thorough as calling a professional, it’ll offer a general understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any flaws during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to hire a professional. Follow this step-by-step checklist:
- Inspect your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, contributing to higher energy bills and greater strain on HVAC equipment. If you discover leaks, use duct tape to close 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 contact a reputable HVAC company in Tuscaloosa to inspect your system.
- Look for 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, including 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 ventilation. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact KDM Service Corporation for a Professional Energy Audit
If you would like professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC professionals at KDM Service Corporation today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Tuscaloosa with quality home services for years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.