Did you perform a double take when you took a look at your last energy bill? Although high energy bills can be the consequence of severe weather events, persistently high bills can also signify an inefficient HVAC system or your home is using too much energy through other means, like drafty windows or insufficient insulation.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether your home is wasting energy is by hiring a home service specialist to carry out a home energy audit, also referred to as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to learn all about home energy audits, including what they are and their key elements.
What Is a Home Energy Audit
An energy audit is a custom inspection of how much energy your home uses 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 ultimate goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient updates, which may include swapping out your existing HVAC system, installing new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing loose windows.
While completing the energy assessment, the auditor also completes an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor performs 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. Exhaustive assessments may also include inspecting your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the average homeowner to know for certain how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, many energy companies often supply information about where your home ranks when compared with similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient versus your neighbors’ homes. This can be a great starting point to determine if you need an energy audit completed.
Several of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Learning 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 lead to a large increase in your energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to run longer to properly heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Upgrades
An energy audit will outline where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to conserve energy and lower utility bills. This might include replacing old weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Improving Health and Safety
Allowing air to seep into your home through doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to appear, which may negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can exacerbate health issues, particularly for people suffering from asthma or allergies.
Raising Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are sought after by homebuyers. You can sell your home much faster or for more money by showing potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although completing an energy audit on your own will not be as thorough as calling a professional, it’ll give you a broad understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any flaws during the DIY test, then you potentially don’t need to bring in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Examine your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, leading to more expensive energy bills and increased wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to plug them. If your HVAC equipment is old and wearing down, upgrading to a new system can save you a significant amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it can be better to contact a reputable HVAC company in Des Moines to inspect your system.
- Check for air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase the energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where there is a draft, including 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.
- Examine 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 ventilation. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are spinning properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Heartland Heating & Cooling for a Professional Energy Audit
If you are interested in professional help finding out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC experts at Heartland Heating & Cooling today. We’ve proudly served the residents of Des Moines with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to request an appointment.