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Home Energy Audit: The First Step to Achieving a More Energy Efficient Home

Published on: November 7, 2013

There is no point in replacing your furnace if aging ductwork is full of leaks or air obstructions. Upgrading your ducts is a great idea, but might not make a big difference if your home’s envelope allows your heated air to escape outside. These examples are why having a home energy audit is the first step to achieving a more energy efficient home.

Your home’s energy systems work together so an inefficiency in one area will compromise the rest. A home energy audit evaluates all of the areas where your home’s energy systems could be improved, and then prioritizes them so you can create an upgrade and improvement strategy. While a professional home energy audit is the best way to go about it, you can also perform a DIY version.

  1. Air leaks. Sealing the leaks in your home is the first line of defense against energy waste. Inspect the exterior of your home for leaks or cracks around window and door frames and where the siding meets the foundation. Also make sure exterior penetrations from electrical and plumbing work are sealed. Replace old weatherstripping around doors and windows.
  2. Ventilation. A well-sealed home requires adequate ventilation to monitor humidity and maintain healthy indoor air quality. Make sure all fuel-burning appliances are adequately ventilated. Your HVAC contractor can verify this for you.
  3. Insulation. Insulation mitigates heat transfer into or out of your home, depending on the season. If you have an older home, make sure the insulation is the correct R-value for your location. The Southeastern U.S. is primarily located in Zones 1, 2, and 3. Begin with your attic and then move to crawl spaces and exterior walls.
  4. HVAC system. Your HVAC system can account for as much as 50 percent of your energy consumption. Always purchase equipment that qualifies for the Energy Star rating to ensure it exceeds minimum energy efficiency requirements. Also, make sure your ducts are well-maintained to avoid energy-wasting airflow obstructions. Ducts should be clean, sealed and insulated.

Contact AC Southeast to find an HVAC contractor who can help with your home energy audit and recommend energy saving solutions.