Would a Professional Energy Evaluation Help You Cut Energy Costs?Published on: July 31, 2012
When homeowners and business owners look at their monthly and annual budgets, they often overlook one of the best ways that they can save money – energy. Most homes and small businesses could definitely benefit from a home energy audit from a licensed air conditioning contractor. The benefits of this short term (and quite small) expenditure pay for themselves usually within the first month of the assessment.
In order to take full advantage of a professional energy evaluation, there are a few things you should keep in mind before you actually go through with a home energy audit with an air conditioning contractor. Below are a few tips on how to best take advantage of a professional energy evaluation.
How to Prepare for a Home Energy Audit
Before you call and air conditioning contractor in for a home energy audit, there are some steps you should take first. To start, no air conditioning contractor is going to be able to effectively audit your home if you do not help them with your observations first. Think of your professional home energy company as a doctor for your house: You must bring your symptoms into the doctor so that he or she can do his job most efficiently.
In order to take scope of your own energy usage, you should first procure copies of your energy bills for the previous year. If you do not have copies of these in your tax folders, you can definitely get them from your state utility.
You should also take note of rooms that are definitely not receiving the same air conditioning as other rooms. Is a room uncomfortable? Is a room drafty? Note all of these things and make sure to write them down for your energy auditor before he or she comes in.
Not many people have this, and it is not a necessity, but if you have measurements and specs on your house, such as the square footage and the number of doors and windows, this can save a lot of time during the energy audit. Your professional energy auditor will definitely make notes on this information, but if you have it, he or she will be more easily able to move straight to the problem areas of the house.
How to Select an Energy Auditor
Since finding an energy auditor in private practice is the same as finding a plumber or an electrician, there are some definite precautions that you should take. Not all energy auditors are created equal and you should find out who the best auditors are in your area before you commit your house to any analysis.
The first place that you can look is the Better Business Bureau. The BBB is known for being quite objective and dispassionate about all industries, and you need this in order to determine the true quality of an energy auditor or an energy auditing company. They will also have a list of complaints against an energy auditing company and how those complaints were resolved. No one is perfect, but if one company fixes problems faster than another, the choice should be made that much more clear.
After you check the Better Business Bureau, you can localize your search for the right energy auditor by using the resources at your local electric or gas company. These companies usually will have energy assessments made by local auditors themselves (they are trying to keep costs down too). If they do not perform these services on their own, they will usually be able to help you narrow down your search by recommending the most experienced energy auditors.
The final task is your personal contacts. If your friends and neighbors have used an energy auditor and can recommend them, this is definitely the best recommendation to have. Although you can look online for reviews of energy auditors, reviews online tend to be more extreme in nature, having been placed there from anger or placed there by the energy auditing company themselves. You should only concern yourself with reviews that come from reputable third-party sites such as the Better Business Bureau.
Notes about Your Professional Energy Auditor
There are two processes that every professional energy auditor should conduct these days without fail. First, you should make sure that your professional energy auditor has a blower door that is calibrated. Second, they should also perform thermographic inspections on your property.
Another way to tell a good energy auditor from a mediocre one is from the questions they ask you. You should look for them to ask you the following questions, and if they do not, you may want to consider getting another company to audit your home.
How many hours a day does the house remain unoccupied?
How many people are in the house?
What rooms are and are not in use?
Where do you set the thermostat in the summer and winter months?