Did you perform a double take when you checked your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the consequence of severe weather conditions, consistently high bills can often signify an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy because of other means, like drafty windows or poor insulation.

One of the simplest ways to figure out whether your home is wasting energy is by hiring a home service specialist to perform a home energy audit, also known 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 comprehensive inspection of how much energy your home consumes and whether – and where – your home could be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will review older energy bills during an energy audit to figure out where energy is being wasted and how much.

The general goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by suggesting energy-efficient improvements, which may include replacing your existing HVAC system, putting in new insulation, closing up leaks, or replacing loose windows.

During the energy assessment, the auditor also completes an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor completes 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 could also include inspecting your current lighting system.

Benefits of a Home Energy Audit

It can be tough for the average homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, many 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 could be a good starting point to determine if you need an energy audit scheduled.

A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:

Understanding How Efficient Your Home Is

It’s beneficial to know how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking, it could cause a large increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to stay on longer to fully heat or cool your home.

Making Energy-Efficient Updates

An energy audit should expose where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to cut back on energy and lower utility bills. This may include replacing old weatherstripping or getting 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 influence your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can exacerbate health problems, especially for people who have asthma or allergies.

Increasing Your Home’s Retail Value

Energy-efficient homes are preferred by homebuyers. You can sell your home more quickly or for more money by telling possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.

How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home

Although completing an energy audit on your own may not be as comprehensive as calling a professional, it’ll give you a general idea of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any flaws during the DIY test, then you potentially don’t need to bring in a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:

  • Inspect your HVAC system. Leaky ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, resulting in steeper energy bills and greater strain on HVAC equipment. If you notice leaks, use duct tape to close 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 call a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
  • Watch for signs of 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, like 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 the ventilation. Ensure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.

Contact Haselhoff Air Solutions 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 Haselhoff Air Solutions today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of Ames with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to request an appointment.