Ever done a double take when you took a look at your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the consequence of severe weather conditions, repeatedly high bills can quickly suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy by other means, including drafty windows or inadequate insulation.
One of the easiest ways to figure out whether your home is consuming too much energy is by hiring a home service expert to perform a home energy audit, also known as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to learn more about home energy audits, including what they are and their advantages.
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 could be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will review older energy bills in the course of an energy audit to determine 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 suggesting energy-efficient updates, which can include exchanging your current HVAC system, adding new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing old windows.
Over the course of 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 inspect your home’s HVAC system, which also includes the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Comprehensive assessments may also include checking 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 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 compared to your neighbors’ homes. This can be a good starting point to determine if you need an energy audit performed.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Learning 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 will cause a significant increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to stay on longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit will expose where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to conserve energy and decrease utility bills. This may include replacing worn weatherstripping or getting a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Enabling air to leak into your home through doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to form, which may negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can lead to health issues, especially for people who have asthma or allergies.
Increasing Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are desired by homebuyers. You can sell your home much faster or for more money by showing potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although handling an energy audit independently will not be as thorough as choosing a professional, it’ll offer you a broad understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any flaws during the DIY test, then you probably don’t need to bring in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Examine your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, leading to steeper energy bills and excess wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you discover 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 substantial amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it can be better to call a reputable HVAC company in Wausau to inspect your system.
- Check for air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise the 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 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. Ensure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are spinning properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Gilray Heating and Cooling 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 pros at Gilray Heating and Cooling today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of Wausau with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to request an appointment.