Is your Tallahassee home as efficient as it could possibly be, or are you spending more on utility bills than necessary? One way to tell is to hire a professional to perform a home energy audit . Learn more about energy audits and what to expect if you choose to have one done.
What Is a Home Energy Audit?
The purpose of having an energy audit performed is to pinpoint areas where your home is losing energy and wasting money. It involves a thorough interior and exterior inspection. Once complete, the auditor leaves you with a comprehensive report telling you where wasteful areas are in your home and what you can do to fix them. The audit also reveals health and safety issues you may not know about.
How to Prepare for a Home Energy Audit
The first step is to find a qualified home energy auditor. A great option is to ask a trusted HVAC company if they provide home energy audits. You can also ask for recommended companies from your utility provider.
No matter what route you take to find a reputable energy auditor, ask for references and contact each one. Make sure the company offers a blower door test -- one of the most important components of a home energy audit -- as well as thermographic inspections with an infrared camera.
Once you’ve chosen a company to perform the audit, help it go smoothly by following these steps before the auditor arrives:
- Write down known problems, such as window condensation, stuffy rooms or drafty areas.
- Collect copies of energy bills for at least the past year.
- Be prepared to answer questions about your daily and weekly behavior, such as working hours, thermostat settings and regularly unused rooms.
Home Energy Audit Checklist
Once the professional technician arrives, expect the home energy auditor to perform the following steps:
- Analyze energy bills to determine base energy consumption and establish what to look for during the inspection.
- Interview the homeowner to learn about existing problems and occupants’ habits and lifestyles.
- Explain the audit process and invite the homeowner to accompany him throughout the home.
- Conduct an exterior inspection, looking for loose connections around walls, joints and under the eaves where air leaks could be wasting energy.
- Complete a health and safety check. This involves measuring flue gases with a combustion analyzer; checking for electrical hazards and measuring energy consumption with a watt meter; checking for fuel leaks in combustion appliances; and measuring moisture level in wood with a moisture meter.
- Perform an interior inspection. The auditor notes the number of air registers in each room, inspects windows for condensation, notes the thermostat type and settings, tests carbon monoxide detectors, and inspects light fixtures. The interior inspection also includes a visit to the attic where the auditor looks for air leaks and poorly installed or inadequate insulation.
- Inspect the heating and cooling system. The auditor measures equipment efficiency and checks for duct leaks. He changes the air filter if needed, performs combustion tests, blows out the dryer vent and tests the water heater’s draft hood.
- Complete a blower door test to depressurize the home and make it easier to spot air leaks throughout the home. A temporary door cover goes over the front door and a powerful fan sucks air from your home. With the fan blowing, the auditor walks around with an infrared camera and looks for bright areas on the screen, indicating hot outdoor air is rushing in through hidden leaks.
After a Home Energy Audit
Once the home energy audit is complete, it’s up to you to implement fixes as suggested by your energy auditor. Making energy efficient upgrades, including sealing air leaks, upgrading old appliances and adding insulation, can save you 5 to 30 percent on your monthly energy bills. The upgrades may also improve the health and safety of indoor air.
For more information about what’s involved in a home energy audit, check out the home comfort services available from Air Control Heating & Cooling, or call us at 850-391-4300 to schedule an appointment.
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