Are you interested in saving money in energy costs, but have a few home energy audit questions on your mind? You’ve come to the right place. A.Johnson regularly performs comprehensive whole house energy audits, helping homeowners in the Capital District pinpoint solutions to lower their home energy consumption – and their utility bills – over time.
Find out more about home energy audits and the home energy audit questions you should consider before hiring a professional to conduct your assessment.
What Happens During a Home Energy Audit?
A home energy audit, or a home energy assessment, helps homeowners determine how much energy their home consumes, and where their house is losing the most energy. A home energy audit can also identify potential health and safety hazards within a home, like the presence of mold, asbestos, or ambient carbon monoxide levels.
Often conducted by a professional home energy auditor, the assessment also evaluates measures a homeowner can take to improve the energy efficiency of their home, saving money in energy costs over time.
During a home energy audit, the auditor inspects energy consuming appliances and systems, such as:
- Renewable energy systems.
- Domestic hot water systems.
- Heating and cooling systems.
- Basements and crawl spaces.
- Major appliances and lighting systems.
- Attached garages.
- Exhaust fans and mechanical ventilation systems.
- Cathedral ceilings and attic spaces.
- Doors, windows and skylights.
- Exterior walls, foundation walls, and concrete slabs.
Following inspection, the auditor shares their findings with the homeowner, pointing out the least energy-efficient features of the home and proposing solutions to mitigate these problem areas and improve the overall energy efficiency of the house.
How Much Does a Home Energy Audit Cost?
The price tag of a home energy audit will vary across the marketplace, according to Green Homes America, a knowledgeable and experienced home energy improvement company. Some companies offer free home energy audits, others perform more comprehensive audits that could cost as much as $500. This is one of the basic home energy audit questions you should ask before hiring a professional to conduct an assessment – and make sure you know what will be included in the price you pay.
What Should I Know About Working With a Home Energy Auditor?
Just as you should with any professional you hire to do work on your home, do your due diligence in researching a qualified home energy audit professional. Make sure you set clear expectations with the auditor before he or she begins the assessment, so that your home energy audit questions are answered to your satisfaction. Clearly communicating your concerns also helps the auditor recommended solutions that are in line with the energy consumption goals you want to set for your home.
It is also helpful to discuss with the auditor how the results of the assessment will be presented, as well as any potential follow-up activities, before beginning the energy audit to prevent miscommunication throughout the process.
What Are the Home Energy Auditors’ Qualifications and Experience?
Don’t be shy about determining your home energy auditor’s qualifications and experience. After all, you hired this person to conduct a thorough assessment of your home, and may hire him or her again to implement home energy saving solutions. Some home energy audit questions regarding qualifications and experience include:
- Does the auditor hold any unique qualifications or licenses, such as a Building Performance Institute certification?
- Does the auditor conduct audits as part of an existing company? If so, how will the auditor ensure that my home energy audit is comprehensive and unbiased, and inspect all of my home’s various energy features?
- How will the auditor communicate the results of the assessment and provide recommendations to increase my home’s energy efficiency?
Make sure the auditor you research can answer these basic home energy audit questions before proceeding with hiring and conducting the audit.
What is My Role as the Homeowner During a Home Energy Audit?
The more involved a homeowner is during a home energy audit, the better the results will be. After all, this is your home – you know the problem spots better than anyone. Additionally, as the homeowner, you are the one setting the expectations for the outcome of the audit. Make it clear from the start whether your priority is to find ways to slash energy costs, or if you are more concerned with finding and eliminating and health or safety issues that may occur within your homes energy systems.
As such, you should be present the day of the audit and available to answer any questions the auditor may have.
What Types of Testing Are Used During a Home Energy Audit?
A comprehensive whole house energy audit may consist of the following tests and procedures:
- Oven testing – to ensure stovetops and ovens are operating normally.
- Pressure diagnostic testing – to pinpoint possible pressure variations in the home.
- Gas leak testing – to discover potential leaks in propane and natural gas piping.
- Ambient CO testing – to evaluate carbon monoxide levels in the home.
- Blower door testing – to measure the air tightness of the home.
- Heating Appliance CO testing – to determine whether appliances are functioning properly.
- Duct blaster testing – to find possible air leaks in ducts.
- Worst-case depressurization testing and spillage testing – to confirm whether or not the chimney is operating correctly.
Will My Home Energy Audit Pinpoint Sources of High Energy Consumption?
As long as a home energy audit is conducted correctly, and thoroughly, the auditor’s findings will detail areas or features of the home that are losing the most energy (and therefore costing you the most in energy bills). The assessment may also include health and safety concerns within the home.
Such energy consumption issues and health/safety problems include:
- Gas leaks.
- Presence of mold or asbestos.
- Ambient carbon monoxide levels.
- Low-efficiency appliances.
- Air leaks.
- Defective ducts.
- Ventilation problems.
- Inefficient lighting systems.
- Insufficient insulation.
What Sort of Energy-Saving Solutions Will My Home Energy Audit Reveal?
The recommended energy-saving solutions will depend on the energy consumption issues that crop up during your home energy audit. These solutions may include adding insulation, air sealing, repairing gas leaks, replacing low-efficiency appliances with modern, Energy Star-certified products, and more.
Other recommendations may address potential health and safety hazards within the home, like excessive moisture or the presence of mold. Solutions to improve indoor air quality include duct cleaning, installing humidifiers or dehumidifiers, air purification, ultraviolet sanitizing, and more.
What Else Should I Learn From My Home Energy Audit?
In addition to pointing out problem areas in the home and recommending solutions, a home energy auditor should work with you to prioritize the implementation of home energy efficiency projects. At the very least, you should come away from your assessment having all your home energy audit questions answered!
How Will An Auditor Help Me Implement Recommended Energy-Saving Solutions?
Upon presenting the audit’s findings and recommending energy-saving solutions, a home energy auditor helps plot out a roadmap. This plan helps achieve a more efficient, comfortable, and healthier home. This includes helping you to understand which problems are priorities and should be addressed as soon as possible to either eliminate a health hazard or to lower your utility bills. Additionally, a home energy auditor can describe government incentives available to homeowners looking to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, as well as financing options to help tackle large improvement projects.
What Can I Do Year-Round to Conserve Energy Within My Home?
Scheduling a home energy audit is the first step to take to create a more energy efficient household. But, there are small actions you can take every day to conserve energy use within your home. The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy shares many simple ways you can lower your energy use, including:
- Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the “warm” setting
- Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms
- Consider installing timers for lights so even if you forget to turn them off, they will turn off anyway
- Clean or replace filters in your heat pump, air conditioner, and furnace
- Install a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature of your home according to your schedule/when the home is most likely to be occupied
- Unplug small appliances and electronics when they are not in use/in need of charging.
There are many ways to become more mindful of your energy consumption. And remember that you’ll be rewarded with lower utility bills!
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!