Energy Audits: Why, what and when?
Why should you have your home audited?
You may already be monitoring your bills month to month to check for any significant increase in cost, or you may be very aware of the thermostat. But what you may be missing is a sort of baseline score or that your yearly costs compared to the previous year may be a more important comparison. The first steps of an energy audit lets us know where you stand, then we’ll find what improvements need to be made.
Your home’s interior environment and the environment outside can benefit from an audit and energy saving solutions as well. Making your home more Energy Efficient affects the air quality in your home and reduces waste of natural resources.
What is an Energy Audit, and what exactly does an auditor do at a home?
An auditor assesses energy use. They’ll learn how heat and AC are being used in a particular house, and where energy is being wasted. They’ll be able to test how well your home is sealed and detect any energy leaks. They’ll also be looking at billing from the last year, (available through your energy account) and areas of specific concern in the home.
An auditor will first do an exterior check, looking for cracks and openings in your home’s structure and foundation. They’ll also check where the homeowner may have specifically noticed drafts, as well as doors, windows and fireplaces. Next they will survey your home’s insulation, especially in the attic, basement and any crawl spaces.
A thorough energy audit will include further testing with specialized equipment. Duct testing for leaks with The duct blaster used in conjunction with a smoke machine can identify the location of leaks in a HVAC system. This is especially helpful in new home construction as this test can be performed before the drywall is hung.
Technicians can also perform a blower door test using a calibrated fan in your front door to create a low air pressure environment. Using a pressure gauge, they’ll be able to determine home much exterior air is getting into your home.(Pic)
Inspectors will also perform infrared scans, with a tool used to make infrared images that show temps on a color spectrum. These will easily show where the cold and hot spots are inside your home.
It is also important to have your HVAC equipment inspected for necessary maintenance or repair. This will not only improve your energy efficiency, but also the quality of air in your home.
In the end homeowners will be provided with the results of tests and any recommendations for repairs, air sealing or possible upgrades such as smart thermostats, as older thermostats may not be accurate.
When is the best time for an Energy Audit?
RIGHT NOW, of course! But that’s what you expect from a company that provides these services, in reality our busiest times can be as seasons change and homeowners get more concerned about extreme heat and cold temps for the year. Our advice is to have an audit done as soon as you have concerns and at any point in the year. Even new builds should be audited especially since some testing can be done before the build is complete and issues can be addressed easier.
For now, as we enter the fall, it is a great time to prepare for winter and make sure you aren’t losing money and energy before cooler weather arrives.