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, repeatedly high bills can often suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy because of other means, such as drafty windows or inadequate insulation.
One of the simplest ways to figure out whether your home is using too much energy is by hiring 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 custom inspection of how much energy your home uses and whether – and where – your home might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at past energy bills while completing 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 renovations, which may include exchanging your existing HVAC system, installing new insulation, closing up leaks, or replacing old windows.
Over the course of the energy assessment, the auditor carries out an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor performs 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, including the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Comprehensive assessments might also include reviewing your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be tough for the typical homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is compared to other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, local energy companies often offer information about where your home ranks in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This can be a good starting point to figure out if you need an energy audit scheduled.
Some of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s beneficial to know how efficient your home is and where you’re consuming the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it will lead to a large increase in your energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to run longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit will outline where you need to make energy-efficient changes to save on energy and decrease utility bills. This might include replacing worn weatherstripping or buying a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Permitting air to leak into your home through doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to appear, which may negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can lead to health issues, particularly for people who have asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are sought after by homebuyers. You can sell your home more quickly or for more money by telling prospective 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 detailed as hiring a professional, it’ll offer a generalized understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any problems during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to hire a professional. Follow this step-by-step checklist:
- Examine your HVAC system. Damaged 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 seal 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 might be better to contact a reputable HVAC company in Rapid City to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase the energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where there is a draft, like along the edge of flooring and close to baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can inspect for air leaks around the home’s foundation, siding and mortar. Plug, caulk or seal any air leaks to save money.
- Examine 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 working properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Street Heating and Cooling for a Professional Energy Audit
If you are interested in professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC experts at Street Heating and Cooling today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of Rapid City with quality home services for a long time. Contact us today to set up an appointment.