Did you perform a double take when you took a look at your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the result of extreme weather events, persistently high bills can also indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is wasting energy because of other means, such as drafty windows or poor insulation.
One of the easiest ways to figure out whether your home is consuming too much energy is by calling a home service expert 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 thorough inspection of how much energy your home consumes and whether – and where – your home may be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at previous energy bills during an energy audit to figure out where energy is being used and how much.
The overall goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient renovations, which can include swapping out your existing HVAC system, installing new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing drafty windows.
While completing 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 evaluate your home’s HVAC system, including the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Exhaustive assessments may also include checking your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be tough for the typical homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is compared to other similar homes in their area. However, local 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 compared to your neighbors’ homes. This is a great starting point to decide if you need an energy audit completed.
Some of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s good to know how efficient your home is and where you’re using up the most energy. For example, if your ducts are damaged, it could result in a sizable increase in your energy bills and additional wear and tear on your HVAC system since it has to work longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Updates
An energy audit can expose where you need to make energy-efficient changes to cut back on energy and lower utility bills. This might include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Allowing air to seep into your home via doors and windows, or due to a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to form, which can negatively influence your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can cause health conditions, particularly for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Increasing Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are sought after by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by demonstrating to possible buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit on your own may not be as detailed as choosing a professional, it’ll give you a general idea of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any problems during the DIY test, then you probably don’t need to hire a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Leaky ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, leading to more expensive energy bills and greater strain on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to seal 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 might be better to hire a reputable HVAC company in Chadron to inspect your system.
- Check for air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise monthly energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where there could be a draft, including along the edge of flooring and along baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can look 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 the ventilation. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are working properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact MPC Heating & Cooling for a Professional Energy Audit
If you want professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, call the HVAC pros at MPC Heating & Cooling today. We’ve proudly serviced the residents of Chadron with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to request an appointment.