Ever done a double take when you checked your last energy bill? Even though high energy bills can be the consequence of severe weather conditions, consistently high bills can also signify an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy by other means, such as drafty windows or poor insulation.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether your home is using too much energy is by hiring a home service expert to carry out 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 benefits.
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 could be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will go through past energy bills in the course of an energy audit to determine where energy is being used and how much.
The general goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient improvements, which may include replacing your current HVAC system, adding new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing loose 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 determine if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also inspect your home’s HVAC system, as well as the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Exhaustive assessments could also include checking your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the average homeowner to know for certain how efficient their home is compared to other similar homes in their area. However, lots of energy companies often offer information about where your home is ranked 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 decide if you need an energy audit performed.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s beneficial to understand how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it could result in a significant increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to run longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Improvements
An energy audit should expose where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to conserve energy and lower utility bills. This can include replacing old weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Allowing air to leak into your home via doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to form, which could negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can exacerbate 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 sooner or for more money by demonstrating to potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit on your own will not be as comprehensive as calling a professional, it’ll give you a generalized understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any problems during the DIY test, then you likely don’t need to hire a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Damaged ducts can lose up to 20% of conditioned air, contributing to more expensive energy bills and increased strain on HVAC equipment. If you notice 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 can be better to hire a reputable HVAC company in St. Louis 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, including along the edge of flooring and close to baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can inspect 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. Make sure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are spinning properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Morgner Inc. Air Conditioning & Heating for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help finding out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC pros at Morgner Inc. Air Conditioning & Heating today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of St. Louis with quality home services for years. Contact us today to request an appointment.