Would a Professional Energy Evaluation Help You Cut Energy Costs?Published on: August 30, 2012
One of the largest concerns for many homeowners is how to cut their expenses, especially related to heating and cooling their homes. Due to the rising cost of electricity, the majority of households see their power bills continuing to become more and more expensive over time. This is why many people have begun looking to improve the energy efficiency of their home through better insulation, ensuring that their ducts are sealed and free of blocks and upgrading their heating and cooling systems. The best way to determine if your home is energy efficient is to have a home energy audit done.
A home energy audit can check for leaks in your home and find areas where you need to improve or change your insulation. Additionally, it can check for gaps and blocks in your ductwork, along with ensuring that your appliances and heating and cooling systems are operating at maximum energy efficiency. When you have a home energy audit done, a professional auditor will use a variety of tools and systems to check for problems in your home that lead to increased energy use, including blower door tests, thermal imaging and gas leak detectors.
When an auditor does a blower door test, they are checking for leaks in your home. Even if you do not feel drafts in your house, that does not mean that there are not openings that air can escape through. Similar to a blower door test, many home energy audit professionals will also run a duct blaster test. Both of these tests produce non-toxic smoke that auditors them to see where gaps in your home and ducts are. When you have leaks in your home or ductwork, it greatly reduces the energy efficiency in your home because hot and cool air can leak in and out of your home, making your heater and AC use more energy to keep your house comfortable.
Another tool that is often used when you have a home energy audit done is an infrared camera. Infrared cameras are used to create thermal images that show where heat is concentrated and moving. This can show an auditor where heat is entering or escaping your home. This tool is generally used to find leaks and discover areas of poor insulation in your home. If you have insufficient or improper insulation in your home, it allows hot air to escape and enter your house, making it much more difficult to heat and cool properly.
Thermal imaging can help auditors pinpoint where you need additional or improved insulation in your home, and it can also check to see if warm or cool air is escaping through windows. Even if you have a large amount of insulation in your home, if it is not the correct type, it cannot always do its job properly, and it can lower the overall energy efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Additionally, if you have a large number of windows, having the glass insulated can got a long ways to stabilizing the temperature of your home.
After your auditor has finished running tests and collecting data about your home, you will be given a home energy assessment. This will outline areas of your home that have problems and what you can do to solve them, including improving or replacing insulation, upgrading your appliances and HVAC system or cleaning and repairing your ducts. Understanding where the largest problems in your home are can help you prioritize energy efficiency upgrades and repairs to your home. For example, buying a new energy efficient AC unit will do you little good if your ductwork has extensive issues.
To ensure the energy efficiency of your home and achieve long term savings on your power bills, consider a home energy audit. An audit can help you determine the areas in your home that need attention and exactly which upgrades will provide the most return on investment.