Get an Energy Audit for Your Home

by Jane VanOsdol on October 31, 2011

You may have heard before that you should get a home energy checkup or audit. Well, what exactly is a home energy audit and how much does one cost? The Department of Energy (DOE) has some helpful information that explains the process and details what you can expect to learn from the audit.

First of all, according the Green Home Guide, energy audits range in price from being free on up to about $1500 for the service. Utility companies will often provide a home energy survey for free (the service is factored into the utility company’s rates). Contractors and businesses, such as heating contractors or window companies, may offer a type of energy audit. In the long run, they are hoping to gain your business and may present you with a sales pitch. If you really do need their product, this may be a good solution for you.

A comprehensive home energy audit is a thorough energy check-up that gives you in-depth information on how energy efficient your home really is. Homeowners will often pay to have these done, particularly if they are having energy-related issues with their homes. The DOE details in their video what a comprehensive audit includes.

Comprehensive Home Energy Audit

  1. In cold weather, the energy auditor begins by walking around the exterior of your home checking the walls, joints and under the eaves for any problems.
  2. Next the auditor will go inside your home and start at the attic. He will check the trap door to the attic to see if that is letting cold air into your home. The auditor will also check your insulation to see how well it is insulating. It should be installed correctly between all areas of the house frame and there should be a sufficient quantity to do some good.
  3. Next the auditor will inspect the holes where electrical lines pass through in your house to make sure they are sealed and not leaking air.
  4. After that your auditor will inspect your furnace and water heater. Generally, the older these appliances get, the less energy efficient they become. A heating repair may be all it takes to make your furnace more energy efficient. Also, if your water heater is not insulated, it’s losing energy.
  5. Your duct work will now be inspected. The auditor is looking to see that the connections are a tight fit and that they are sealed.
  6. Finally, the auditor will perform a blower door test. In this test, the auditor closes all windows, doors and anything else that could be letting outside air in the house. The auditor then uses a special fan to depressurize the house. The object is to suck all the air out of the house, which allows the auditor to use an infrared camera to walk around the house to detect unknown leaks. The camera clearly shows any leaks and the severity of them.

Overall, the home improvement upgrades you make to your home based on the energy auditor’s recommendations can put anywhere from 5 to 30 percent of your energy bill back in your pocket.

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