Ever done a double take when you checked your last energy bill? Even though high energy bills can be the end result of severe weather events, repeatedly high bills can also suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy by other means, like drafty windows or poor insulation.
One of the simplest ways to determine whether your home is using too much energy is by hiring a home service expert to complete a home energy audit, also referred to as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to learn more 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 wasted and how much.
The ultimate goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient updates, which may include exchanging your current HVAC system, adding new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing drafty windows.
Over the course of the energy assessment, the auditor performs 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 evaluate your home’s HVAC system, as well as the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some assessments could also include checking your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be hard for the ordinary homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is versus other similar homes in their area. However, many energy companies often supply information about where your home stands 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 good to understand how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are damaged, it could lead to a significant increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to run longer to fully heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit can reveal where you need to make energy-efficient improvements to conserve energy and reduce utility bills. This can include replacing old weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Permitting air to leak into your home through doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause unwanted moisture to form, which can negatively affect your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can lead to health problems, particularly for people who have asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home more quickly or for more money by demonstrating to possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although completing an energy audit on your own might not be as comprehensive as choosing a professional, it’ll offer you a generalized idea 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 bring in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Examine your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, resulting in more expensive energy bills and greater strain on HVAC equipment. If you notice leaks, use duct tape to plug them. If your HVAC equipment is old and wearing down, upgrading to a new system can save you a significant amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it can be better to contact a reputable HVAC company in Laguna Niguel 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 you can find a draft, including along the edge of flooring and along 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 the ventilation. Make sure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Ocean Air Conditioning and Heating 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 professionals at Ocean Air Conditioning and Heating today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of Laguna Niguel with quality home services for years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.