Ever wondered whether you should have an energy audit done on your home? Well, if you feel like your home’s utility bills are higher than expected, it might be time. And if it costs more to heat your home in winter, chances are that it might cost more to cool your home in summer. Did you know that you can save anywhere between 5%-30% on your energy costs just by ordering an energy audit for your property?
Do I Need an Energy Audit?
If you are still not sure if an energy audit is for you, answer the following questions:
- Are you remodeling?
- Do you want to “go green”?
- Do you have high utility bills?
- Are you interested in energy efficiency?
- Do you want to increase the value of your home?
- Are some areas of your home too hot or too cold?
What Exactly is an Energy Audits
An energy audit is an inspection and analysis of your property. The main purpose of this type of inspection is to determine the efficiency of your home. This may involve a room-by-room examination of your home. It also involves the analysis of several characteristics of your home, including the windows, ceiling, floors, doors and more.
Many professional assessments will include the following methods:
- blower door test
- thermographic scan
A “blower door” is a machine used to physically locate air leaks. The blower door fan is temporarily sealed into an exterior doorway using the door panel system. All the interior doors are opened, exterior doors are closed, and some other preparations are made. Once ready, the blower door fan blows air into or out of the home, creating either a positive or negative pressure differential that can be measured. It can also be used to test ductwork airtightness and measure airflow between zones.
A thermographic inspection makes use of an infrared scanning device to detect temperature variations on the interior or exterior of your property. The images collected by this device will help to determine whether or not insulation is required in certain areas.
Once testing has been completed, a written report estimating the energy efficiency of your home will be completed by the professional who did the audit. The report will take into consideration factors such the local climate criteria, roof overhang, as well as the solar orientation.
The auditor will also take other factors into consideration such as:
- How many people live in the home?
- Is anyone home during working hours?
- Are there any areas not being used?
- What is the average thermostat settings for summer and winter?
How To Find The Best Auditor
It’s extremely important that you find a licensed professional to do the energy audit for you. Luckily, there are several options available if you would like to have an energy audit performed on your property.
Your state or local government should be able to assist you with a list of certified professionals who should be able to assist you. You can also consult The Residential Energy Services Network. This directory will be able to put you in touch with a local professional.
However, be sure to compare at least 3 estimates to ensure you get a feel for the current pricing trends in your region. Always keep in mind when you do this, however, that not every person who is willing to quote you may be a licensed professional. You should always check references before you go ahead and do business with anyone.
Remember, the only way to ensure that an energy audit is going to save you money is by having done right, the first time. By taking some time to select the right professional for your audit you will be saving yourself more money down the line.
How To Prepare Your Home for an Energy Audits
When you are expecting an energy auditor, you should take some time to prepare your home. This will help the auditor get the most accurate results. This could include some of the following:
- move some furniture
- removing the drapes
- clear space for ladder access into the attic
- clear space for access to crawl space, knee wall, or other access hatches
Make a list of all the issues you may be experiencing. This may include things like drafty rooms or areas where condensation is a problem. Also be sure to have copies of your monthly utility bills on hand for the auditor to scrutinize.
How Much Do Energy Audits Cost?
Home energy audits are sometimes subsidized by local governments or utilities. However, you should expect to budget anywhere between $300-$500. Some contractors will also offer reduced rates should you hire them to make the recommended improvements to your house.
However, this cost will pale in comparison to how much you will be able to save on your utility bills over time.
The benefits of having an energy audit done
Apart from the savings over time, the other benefits of doing an energy audit includes:
- Improved comfort of your home
- Increased resale value of your home
- Accounts for any unnecessary use of energy
- Helps you to adopt a greener lifestyle
- Better health as you eliminate the cause of mold, mildew and improved air quality
When you have completed your energy audit and taken the necessary steps to prevent unnecessary energy consumption, you may be elated once the utility bills start coming in with lower numbers.