A home energy audit is a method to ensure that you are using energy as efficiently (and, thus, as conservatively) as possible while yet maintaining a comfortable lifestyle. The amount of money you spend on energy is determined by the kind of fuel you use (which may range from electricity to oil to propane to wood in a fireplace). Even if the cost of these fuels could be out of your hands as a property owner, one thing is sure: the less energy your house uses, you can start saving money on your utility bills.
According to energystar.gov, the typical American family spends about $2,060 per year on energy expenses. Your home’s heating, appliances, and lights are all powered by this money, among other things.
What happens during a home energy audit?
When a home energy audit is performed on your house, Energy auditors will look at your current home energy consumption and then identify potential energy efficiency improvements that you can implement to make your home highly efficient. An energy auditor can determine where your house is wasting energy and then offer recommendations for changes that will help you conserve energy and lower your electric bill in the future.
It may take anywhere between 30 minutes to 4 hours for a professional energy audit to be completed, based on the scale of the house being audited. When these expert auditors visit your home, they will utilize a range of instruments to identify problem areas and then provide a list of recommended measures and activities that you can do to make your site more energy efficient.
Here’s what a typical energy audit might look like in your home:
An energy auditor will look at your property from the exterior to determine its energy efficiency. Then, when they come to your house, they’ll look at several components, including your windows, walls, and eaves, to determine whether or not there are any significant problems like losing energy in or out of your property. They will also check your appliances if they are energy stars or not.
When the auditor visits, they will search in the attic (if you have one) to look for a few items. Most essential, they will check your insulation to ensure that it has been properly placed and has been spread evenly between the walls of your home. They will also inspect the holes wherever electrical wires are routed to see whether or not they are appropriately sealed and whether or not they may be a cause of leakage.
It is the auditor’s responsibility to inspect your furnace and water heater. If any of these items are on the older side, an update is probably in need. Furthermore, they will most likely inspect the furnace filter to verify that it does not need replacing. They will also examine the connections in the ducts in your basement to see if any potential leaks may be causing you to lose heat and energy in the process.
Although replacing appliances, furnaces, and water heater requires a substantial investment upfront, the expense of doing so is usually offset by savings throughout the equipment’s lifespan. In many instances, improvements will result in net savings within a few years after being implemented. In addition, to make it simpler for people to invest in energy-efficient equipment, several utilities and local governments provide low-cost energy efficiency financing programs.
As part of any significant professional audit, a blower door test will be performed. A device or gadget that enables them to detect and locate air leaks in the house is used in this operation. All windows and doors will be closed during a blower door test, and a blower door machine will be used to depressurize the house due to the difficulty. At that time, the auditor will use an infrared camera to inspect your home to see whether any cold air leaks are detected.
Some home energy auditors, as part of the safety check, will also include ambient carbon monoxide testing because fossil fuels (natural gas) burn incompletely because of insufficient oxygen, which results in CO production, and if it lacks proper ventilation, then the carbon monoxide levels might significantly go up, and it might result in CO poisoning or significantly affect the health
As part of a safety package, the Energy Auditor may conduct a Gas Leak Test to ensure the home does not have any natural gas/propane leak.
Finally, most audits involve a visual examination of your home’s lighting system, if applicable. For example, switching to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescent lamps from conventional incandescent light bulbs may quickly decrease your energy expenses.
Moisture Content Testing is another arsenal within the Energy Auditors Toolbox that will indicate moisture intrusion or water damage in materials. High moisture content can result in microbial (mold) growth and decay (rot).
Following are some of the most typical procedures that are followed during an energy audit. Nevertheless, depending on the scale of the project and the instruments available to your energy auditor, some additional procedures are needed (such as thermographic inspections).
Depending on the extent of the audit, your energy auditor’s suggestions for your house will differ. Switching to more energy-efficient lighting, sealing air leaks around doors, and installing weather stripping are all examples of simple, low-cost solutions. However, some of the more substantial recommendations may involve adding additional insulation or replacing windows that allow draughts to enter your house, as well as upgrading your appliances to Energy Star-rated appliances.
Cost of an energy audit and How much can you save?
A professional energy audit may cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500, depending on the firm you choose and the size of your house (some companies offer fixed rates, while others will charge more for a larger home). However, do your homework since certain utility providers, charities, and government groups in your local region may provide free home energy audits if you ask them to do so.
Even though it is a paid service, the initial cost of an energy audit and the subsequent energy efficiency measures implemented will be worth it in the long run since you will save money on your power bills as a result. You may save energy anywhere from five to thirty percent based on your energy use by implementing energy efficiency upgrades to your house.
What are mini home energy audits, and how to conduct one?
Although hiring a professional to do an energy audit is the most effective method to discover problem areas in your house, customers can use a few energy-saving techniques to make energy efficiency changes on their own and save money and budget. You might need some tools or devices as well to conduct the Energy Audits.
Here are few ways to do a mini home energy audit
The first step is to check and replace inefficient lighting with more energy-efficient alternatives(LEDs, CFLs, or energy-saving incandescents) for a fast and easy method to reduce your power cost.
Inspect attic insulation and potential leak sources surrounding your heating and cooling equipment should be carried out. Replace any energy-efficient appliances if you contemplate upgrading current ones since they use less power than conventional equivalents.
Use weatherization or caulking If you detect a particularly draughty section of your house. It is particularly typical for leaks to appear at the intersection of walls and ceilings, doors, windows, and near electrical outlets.
Timing of Energy Audits
The most appropriate time to get your home energy audited is determined by where you reside, but If you are spending much money on your energy bills (Electricity, Natural Gas), doing an energy audit is a good idea at any time. The sooner you improve your house to make it more energy-efficient, the sooner you will begin to see financial savings.
During the winter, many homes seem draughty or chilly in certain places and warm in others, depending on where you are. Because winter energy costs may be high in the Northeast, it may be wise to finish energy efficiency projects before the cold sets in, around the September – October time frame.
This same principle applies if your power bills are high in the summer due to central air conditioning; having an audit and the opportunity to implement energy-saving measures before the maximum temperatures arrive may be the best course of action.