Learn About Home Energy Audits
A home energy audit is important because it can help you to identify the areas in your home that are not energy efficient. By hiring a professional to complete this audit or completing it yourself, you can make a list of improvements you should consider making to increase the energy efficiency of your home.
If you are attempting to save some income by keeping your monthly expenses low, your utility bill in the summer or winter months may be ruining your ability to stay on budget. With a professional audit or by analyzing your home’s energy usage yourself, you may be able to make small or big changes that can help you to realistically meet these monthly financial goals.
In some cases, you may qualify for a free home energy audit through your current utility company. Many companies conduct these audits for free to inspire their customers to make changes to the home and start using less energy. It is useful to take advantage of this free service so you can lower your monthly utility bills and ensure your home is as energy efficient as possible.
An audit may also provide you with additional information about the energy your home is using so you can identify where you and your family can make improvements. To review the possible home energy audit cost and to learn about what is usually covered by a professional audit, review the following information.
What is a home energy audit?
When a home energy assessment is completed by a professional in your home, he or she analyzes several elements related to the energy efficiency and functionality of your space and systems. Depending on the type of audit you have asked for, the professional may be done with the assessment in an hour or the process may take several hours and require special equipment.
If you asked one of your local energy audit companies for a simple energy audit of your home, the professional may have just conducted an assessment to conclude your Home Energy Score. This rating helps you to better understand how your home is currently functioning and if it is maintaining energy efficiency. If your Home Energy Score is low, you should consider making improvements to your heating and cooling systems, insulation or windows and doors. For example, making improvements to certain appliances or home structures can improve energy efficiency in summer and winter months when you typically use the most energy.
Although this simple assessment does not take long to complete, the professional will also provide you with suggestions on how to improve your Home Energy Score. These improvements can be small and inexpensive changes or may be large expenses, such as installing a new cooling system. If you get a commercial energy audit and still need energy assistance, download and review our free online guide to LIHEAP.
A comprehensive energy audit checklist is used by a professional when he or she completes a thorough assessment of your home. Special equipment, such as infrared cameras and blower doors, are used by the professional auditor when conducting this assessment and a more thorough report is provided to you upon its completion. With this inspection, you can better understand:
- How well your home is using energy and its current efficiency rating.
- The spaces where your home is losing energy.
- Problem areas in the home that need to be addressed immediately.
- Areas in the home that could be improved upon in the near future.
- The functionality of your heating and cooling systems.
When you order a full inspection, the assessor travels from room to room in your home and analyzes the energy used. This can be helpful for learning more about your home’s energy efficiency and functionality.
How much does a home energy audit cost?
If you choose not to complete a DIY home energy audit and you hire a professional to complete the assessment, you may need to pay him or her for the inspection. However, many utility companies offer a free home energy audit to their customers. You should consult with your local utility company to see if it offers this service for free or for a low cost. Keep in mind that a free inspection may not be as in-depth or involved as a thorough assessment that you pay for through a professional energy audit company. However, it can give you a general idea of the energy your home uses and how you can improve its efficiency.
You should also be cautious with a free energy audit that is offered through your utility company because the auditor may be limited in the type of products and systems that he or she can suggest to you to improve energy efficiency. Since the assessor works for the utility company, there may only be a few specific product recommendations that he or she is allowed to provide when the inspection is completed.
You should find several local companies in your area that offer energy audit services before hiring an assessor for your home. These companies may have different techniques and reports they can provide when completing the process. They may also offer different price points. Compare what is assessed in each audit and the price for its completion before deciding on the home energy audit you want completed in your space.
Can I perform my own home energy assessment?
If you are worried about the cost of a home energy audit, you can complete one on your own. However, if you do not plan to hire a professional to assist you with your assessment, you should be sure you analyze all components of your home’s energy efficiency thoroughly. You may not be able to perform certain inspections that professionals can because you do not have the right equipment or knowledge to assess these elements. However, if you complete a home energy audit on your own, you can check the following factors:
- If your windows and doors have air-tight seals.
- The consistency and amount of insulation your home is equipped with.
- The functionality of your heating and cooling equipment.
- The lighting elements used in your home.
- How your appliances and electronics are performing.
If you take the time to look into these areas, you can create a whole-house plan that includes specific actions you can complete and equipment you can buy to increase the energy efficiency in your home. If your DIY home energy audit doesn’t help with all energy expenses, review our informative guide to LIHEAP assistance today.