Summer is fast approaching, and with it comes the dread of checking the electricity bill once the air conditioning unit starts cranking. You want to stay cool, but at what point does the price become too high?
It doesn’t have to be this way. Consider scheduling a home energy audit to find out how to make your home more energy efficient, slashing your energy bills. Learn more about the process of conducting a home energy audit and when you’re ready, give A. Johnson a call – we’d love nothing more than to free you from the worry of costly energy bills this summer.
What is a Home Energy Audit?
A home energy audit is an assessment that helps homeowners determine where their house is losing energy and money, the U.S. Department of Energy states. An audit will also reveal how to fix such problems so that they may be corrected, resulting in a more energy- and cost-efficient home.
To put it simply, a home energy audit gauges how much energy your home consumes and identifies energy-efficient solutions to potentially save you significant money over time!
What Does a Home Energy Audit Consist of?
According to GreenHomes America, a trusted source of unbiased energy efficiency information, a proper home energy audit conducted by a certified professional should be comprehensive and pinpoint contributors to high energy costs, like inefficient lighting and appliances, insufficient insulation, gas leaks, and more.
A thorough home energy audit evaluates energy features including:
- Heating and cooling systems
- Lighting systems and major appliances
- Cathedral ceilings and attic spaces
- Exhaust fans and mechanical ventilation systems
- Basements and crawl spaces
- Exterior walls, foundation walls, and concrete slabs
- Windows, doors and skylights
- Domestic hot water systems
- Renewable energy systems
- Attached garages
A home energy audit may also include in-home field testing, such as:
- Pressure diagnostic testing – to test for possible pressure variations in the home
- Oven testing – to determine that stovetops and ovens are operating normally
- Worst-case depressurization testing and spillage testing – to confirm whether or not the chimney is operating as it should
- Gas leak testing – to pinpoint potential leaks in propane and natural gas piping
- Ambient CO testing – to test the air in the home for carbon monoxide levels
- Blower door testing – to evaluate the home’s air tightness
- Duct blaster testing – to test ducts for air leaks
- Heating appliance CO testing – to ensure appliances are functioning normally
Following the assessment, the home energy auditor will share findings with the homeowner and offer recommendations to achieve a more energy efficient home. From there, the homeowner may choose to work with a certified energy consultant to create a plan to make recommended home improvements.
What Does a Home Energy Audit Cost?
To put it simply, the cost of a home energy audit will vary across the marketplace. Some companies offer free audits while a comprehensive assessment may carry a price tag of approximately $500. Regardless of the cost, find out what the energy audit includes before committing. And remember, these audits will likely save you big money in energy costs in the long run.
Why Should I Schedule an Energy Audit For My Home?
If you are serious about saving money on your home’s energy costs, the first step is to schedule a home energy audit. The completed audit will serve as a step-by-step guide to creating a comfortable, healthy home that is energy efficient and results in lower utility bills.
What Should I Expect When Working with a Certified Home Energy Auditor?
Do your due diligence when hiring an energy auditor, just as you would with any contractor retained to complete work on your home. It is important to set clear expectations with the auditor prior to the energy audit, so that the recommendations you receive are in line with your goals for creating an energy efficient home.
Don’t hesitate to ask the auditor about his or her training, or questions that demonstrate their knowledge and experience in conducting a home energy audit. It is also helpful to discuss how the results will be presented, how implementation and installation of the recommendations will work, and whether or not the auditor will return to inspect any home improvements made based on the findings of the audit. Having these conversations prior to the assessment only helps to ensure a successful audit and happy homeowner!
What Do I Need to Know for the Day of My Home Energy Audit?
First, make sure you will be present for the audit. After all, you are the homeowner and you know your home and its problem areas better than the auditor does.
Next, make sure the auditor understands your vision when it comes to the results of this process. If your priority is to lower your utility bills, make sure that’s clear. If you are more concerned about eliminating a health or safety issue within your home, tell the auditor. The more involved the homeowner is during the auditing process, the better the results will be.
Finally, if something the auditor says is unclear, speak up! The home energy auditor complicated and confusing terms like “pascals,” “CFM50,” or “ACH.” If it sounds like gibberish to you, ask them to explain in layman’s terms so you can follow along and better understand how to make your home a more comfortable and efficient dwelling.
What Sort of Fixes Will My Home Energy Audit Reveal?
A thorough home energy audit may reveal problems and comfort issues like:
- Ventilation issues
- Inefficient lighting and low-efficiency appliances
- Gas leaks
- Defective ducts
- Insufficient insulation
- Air leaks
The assessment may also bring to light health issues like excess moisture, the presence of mold, asbestos, and ambient carbon monoxide levels.
Upon completion of the audit, the auditor will provide recommendations prioritized according to the homeowner’s goals. Common fixes include air sealing to reduce drafts and adding insulation to make the home more comfortable and resistant to condensation-related problems like rot and mold.
How Will a Home Energy Audit Help Reduce My Energy Bills?
A thorough home energy audit will pinpoint hidden electronic loads, revealing the source of energy waste in the home. The auditor makes recommendations to reduce energy consumption, and the homeowner must follow through and implement the high-priority fixes in order to see utility savings. Solutions range from DIY tasks like replacing light bulbs to more complicated projects that require the expertise of a quality contractor.
What Can I Do Now to Improve the Energy Efficiency of My Home?
Be sure to schedule a home energy audit at your convenience so you can truly impact your energy costs for years to come. In the meantime, everyday things you can do to conserve energy – and save money – include:
- Replace standard light bulbs with LED bulbs
- Turn off the lights, TV, computers, ceiling fans, etc. when they are not in use
- Reduce hot water usage
- Switch to Energy Star-labeled appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, etc.
- Manage home temperatures with a programmable thermostat
- Cover drafty windows
- Replace a constantly running pool pump with a variable speed pump
You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save simply by being mindful!
A.Johnson works with homeowners in the Capital District area to fix any and all plumbing, heating and cooling issues in your home. From energy audits and routine maintenance to emergency service, contact us today to improve your home comfort needs!