Many homeowners are looking for ways to make their home more energy efficient and save money on their utility bills. Often times the energy company that performs a free home energy audit only checks obvious areas like lighting and air sealing.
It is important that your home energy auditor performs a complete home energy audit. Vital aspects of your home that should be checked in a home energy audit include:
*Heating and cooling system: Learning about the energy efficiency of your heating and cooling system is essential. If this is not checked there could be an abundant amount of energy being lost that you do not even recognize. Heating and cooling accounts for a large amount of energy use in your home and can be a major source of energy loss as well. Getting a complete home energy audit that assesses your heating and cooling system is something that you don’t want to go without.
* Sealing: Although air sealing throughout your home is an obvious check, make sure it fully evaluates the air sealing. Simply checking around windows is not enough for your energy audit. A proper one should check for air leakage in your attic, foundation, and around any vents that may be letting in unwanted air.
When places are found throughout your home that are not sealed properly, it should suggest fixes such as insulation in the attic or basement, caulk and weatherstripping around doors and windows, and foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls. These fixes will keep in the conditioned air so that you are not wasting energy heating or cooling the outside, unconditioned air.
* Insulation: They are only complete when the insulation in your home is fully assessed. Many homeowners believe they have enough insulation in their home when this may actually be a major cause of energy loss. Simply checking to see if there is enough insulation is not a complete energy audit either though. Assessing your insulation r-value is essential.
The r-value of your insulation determines how well your home is insulated. This value depends on the type insulation that is in your home. A full one will assess this and let you know if you need to improve the insulation in your home to save energy and money.
* Lighting: Lighting is a simple fix, but is not always addressed in a free home energy audit. A proper one should be extensive and definitely address the lighting in your home. With new lighting technologies, the energy you use for lighting could be reduced by 50-75%. Installing energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) throughout your home will save energy and money every month.
* Appliances: It should also include an assessment of the appliances you already have and the way that you are using them. Dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers all must be checked out to achieve a proper understanding of the energy you are already using. When that is established, your home energy auditor should then be able to give you solutions to save money when it comes to your home’s appliances.
All in all, it is extremely important that you receive a whole-house energy audit to discover your home’s energy efficiency and ways that you can save money. If it looks appealing, make sure that the auditor addresses all aspects of your home and fully assesses every area where you could possibly be losing energy.