Aside from getting solar panels, a regular check-up of your home’s energy consumption is your next step toward a greener and more efficient future. Stick around to learn what is a home energy audit and everything else you need to know about it.
What is a Home Energy Audit and How Does it Work?
In essence, a home energy audit is an inspection of a house with the purpose of determining how much energy it needs and how much it actually uses. That includes electricity, water, and gas. The end goal is to detect problem areas that need to be upgraded, which in turn lowers your energy bills and helps you save up.
The assessment will typically include:
- past energy bills
- local climate
- the physical condition of your home’s building envelope
- performance of mechanical systems
- thermostat settings
Why Do I Need a Home Energy Audit?
Performing regular home energy audits has several advantages that you should know of:
- Understanding your home’s energy use. An audit will give you an insight into your home’s overall energy consumption and waste levels.
- Recognizing issues. An energy audit will also reveal any underlying problems that your home might be facing. Those will give you an idea which aspects of your home you need to improve upon to gain efficiency. For instance, the issue may lie with improper insulation or a faulty appliance.
- Comfort, health, and safety. If your home’s insulation or sealing has gaps in it, your cooling/heating system will be compromised. And not just that — excess moisture can cause mold and thus pose a health risk for you and your family. An energy audit can help you easily identify these issues and resolve them as soon as possible.
- Raising the value of the house. Finally, if you optimize your home to be as energy-efficient as possible, you can expect its resale price to skyrocket.
Professional Home Energy Audit
Although you could do it yourself, a professional auditor has all the necessary tools and equipment that help them evaluate faster and with greater accuracy. Aside from having a keen eye, they also have infrared cameras, fans, and thermostats that help them easily detect problematic areas.
Before they arrive, you might want to sit down and create a list of all existing problems with the house, as well as acquire the yearly bill summaries from your utility company. In addition, the auditor will ask you some questions about your energy usage habits and lifestyle in general. For instance, they might want to know how many people live in the house, your typical thermostat settings in the summer/winter, etc.
After evaluating each room in the house, the auditor will give you some ideas on how you can improve your home’s energy efficiency.
DIY Home Energy Audit
Of course, a DIY home energy audit won’t be nearly as comprehensive and precise as if it were done by an expert. However, it can still give you some useful insights. Besides that, there are apps that can help you monitor your energy usage at all times.
Here’s what you need to check for around the house:
- drafts and air leaks, especially around doors and windows
- insulation and sealing
- ventilation system; it needs to be clean and unobstructed
- all appliances and devices, as well as their settings
- lighting, i.e. the type of light bulbs used
And to increase the energy efficiency, you can try the following:
- fix all insulation around the house and make sure there are no gaps
- clean and replace the air filters
- replace old appliances
- unplug appliances that you’re not using
- consider LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs
Now that you know what is a home energy audit and how it can benefit you, it’s time to put it to good use. And for even more efficiency and even lower utility bills, consider getting solar panels before summer arrives.