What Is An Energy Audit and How Does It Work ?
If you have not had an energy audit conducted at your home, the time to do so is now. There is a good chance your home is wasting a considerable amount of energy yet you will never know it unless you have an energy audit performed. Anything from an old window to doors that allow air to move inside, cracks in walls and beyond can hike your energy use. A home energy audit decreases yearly energy costs through the identification of opportunities to save energy.
The Basics of Home Energy Audits
Home energy audits gauge the amount of energy a home uses. The purpose of this audit is to determine where the home is wasting or losing energy. Also referred to as a home energy assessment or evaluation, home energy audits identify areas for improvement in energy efficiency. Professional energy inspections consider everything from the air flow within the home to surface issues, lighting and even the number of people in the home.
Is a Home Energy Audit Necessary at Your Home?
It is certainly possible your home is conserving energy in such an efficient manner that a home energy audit will not turn up any areas for improvement. However, most homes chew up more energy than they require. Opt for a home energy audit and you will benefit beyond saving energy. Home energy audits heighten personal comfort as well as home value.
The Home Energy Audit Process
Home energy audits are sometimes performed as walk-throughs in which a visual inspection of the home takes place. The problem with such a walk-through audit is it is unlikely to include a diagnostic test. Homeowner recommendations made after a visual review of the home performed by the auditor will not be as informative and helpful as those made after a full diagnostic test is performed. A truly comprehensive energy audit identifies the areas with particularly high energy consumption and comfort problems. This in-depth audit determines if there are air leaks, moisture problems, poorly-insulated spaces, gas leaks, insufficient lighting, ventilation problems and/or defective ducts.
The best home energy audits include a comprehensive analysis of the home’s primary energy. Ideally, the homeowner will be provided with a full list of recommended actions to take, each prioritized in terms of importance. Such recommendations address the home’s energy inefficiencies and comfort challenges. Furthermore, a truly comprehensive audit pinpoints and thwarts safety and health issues to boot. However, the primary focus is to determine where energy is being wasted and how the situation can be improved. The primary energy features to be analyzed include the heating/cooling systems, appliances, windows, doors, exterior walls, attic spaces, basement, skylights, ceiling and crawlspaces.
The most detailed home energy audits provide field testing to boot. Field testing amidst energy audits include duct blaster testing to determine if the ducts have air leaks, gas leak testing to determine if there are leaks in the natural gas/propane gas pipes, blower door testing to determine if the home has the proper air tightness and heating appliance CO tests to gauge whether appliances can operate as they should.