Ever done a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? Even though high energy bills can be the result of severe weather events, consistently high bills can quickly indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy by other means, like drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
An easy way to identify whether your home is consuming too much energy is by getting a home service specialist to complete a home energy audit, also called a home energy assessment. Keep reading to learn all 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 and whether – and where – your home might 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 overall goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by suggesting energy-efficient updates, which may include exchanging your existing HVAC system, putting in new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing drafty windows.
During the energy assessment, the auditor performs an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor will perform 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, 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 typical homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their community. However, many 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 could be a great starting point to figure out if you need an energy audit performed.
Some of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Learning How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to know how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it will result in a large increase in your energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to run longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit will expose where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to cut back on energy and reduce utility bills. This might include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Allowing air to slip into your home via doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to appear, which can negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or encourage mold. This can lead to health problems, especially for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Increasing Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are desired by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by showing prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit independently might not be as detailed as calling a professional, it’ll offer a broad understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any issues during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to bring in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, contributing to higher energy bills and increased strain on HVAC equipment. If you discover leaks, use duct tape to seal 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 can be better to hire a reputable HVAC company in Odessa to inspect your system.
- Check for air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase your energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where you can find a draft, including along the edge of flooring and near 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.
- 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. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Redhawk Heating & Air Conditioning for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC pros at Redhawk Heating & Air Conditioning today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Odessa with quality home services for a long time. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.