What is a Whole House Energy Audit?
Your utility bill may be shocking, but it also offers very few details that may be helpful:
- It doesn't tell you when your energy use peaks
- It doesn't explain how best to reduce power consumption
- It doesn't tell you how your home is spending your money
We think those details are worth finding out.
A Home Energy Audit is one of the first steps to understanding your home's energy usage, as well as its overall health and performance. Using a combination of high tech tests and common sense evaluations, a good auditor provides homeowners with a list of energy and money saving steps, explains how and why your house is costing you money, and then prioritizes steps to take to knock down those costs over the long haul.
A typical audit consists of several steps:
- A thorough visual inspection of the home's building envelope (the shell of the house).
- An insulation check - mostly using infrared thermography - to pinpoint spots where insulation may have settled, been improperly installed, or where it may be missing altogether.
- A Blower Door to perform an Air Leakage Test. It measures the cumulative effect of all the air leaks in the home.
- A ventilation check: Healthy houses have appropriate ventilation. An auditor will test the ventilation systems to ensure that they conform to safety standards.
- All visible gas lines, the gas stove, and gas powered water heater will be examined to insure that there are no leaks.
- The auditor will evaluate if your central heating system needs cleaning or a tune-up.
- Finally, expect appliances (including old dryers or refrigerators) to be tested with an electricity monitor. There are times when one incredibly inefficient appliance throws an entire house's energy use out of whack.
Whole House Energy Audits by certified professionals are worth every penny, so long as you act on what the audit shows.
Bear in mind that what turns up might surprise you! Homeowners are often shocked to discover that all the little air leaks throughout their house add up to the equivalent of a window (or two, or more) being left open year round!!
Just remember that what you don't know can cost you: it's better to know!