Ever done a double take when you viewed your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the consequence of extreme weather conditions, persistently high bills can often signify an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy because of other means, like drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the simplest ways to figure out whether your home is wasting 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 key elements.
What Is a Home Energy Audit?
An energy audit is a thorough inspection of how much energy your home consumes and whether – and where – your home might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through older energy bills in the course of 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 identifying energy-efficient updates, which may include replacing your current HVAC system, putting in new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing loose windows.
During 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 determine if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also evaluate your home’s HVAC system, as well as the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Comprehensive assessments could also include inspecting 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 compared to other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, local energy companies often provide information about where your home is ranked in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient in contrast with your neighbors’ homes. This could be a good starting point to decide if you need an energy audit scheduled.
Some of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Learning How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to learn more about how efficient your home is and where you’re using the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it could result in a large increase in your energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to work longer to completely heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Improvements
An energy audit should reveal where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to cut back on energy and reduce utility bills. This might include replacing old weatherstripping or getting a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Permitting air to slip into your home through doors and windows, or as a result of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to form, which can negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can lead to health conditions, particularly for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home much faster or for more money by demonstrating to potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit independently will not be as comprehensive as calling a professional, it’ll offer a broad idea 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 call in a professional. Follow this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Leaky ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, contributing to more expensive energy bills and increased wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you discover leaks, use duct tape to close 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 might be better to hire a reputable HVAC company 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 in 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 check for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Kirkfield Heating & Air Conditioning for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC pros at Kirkfield Heating & Air Conditioning today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Winnipeg with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.