If you can’t remember the last time you conducted a home energy audit, you’re probably spending more than necessary on your energy bills. You may have noticed this already if it costs more to heat and cool your home and power appliances, even though you haven’t changed how you use your HVAC and electrical system. A simple home energy audit could alert you to problem areas and help you adopt helpful energy-saving measures.
During a home energy audit, you or a professional energy auditor walks through your home to study the flow of electricity and detect problem areas. A self-conducted audit gives you a basic understanding of how your home uses energy, whereas a professional audit provides immediate solutions. Here are four vital facts to know about home energy audits.
1. Your Landscape May Affect Your Energy Audit
Rather than light fixtures and warming and cooling habits, it could be your home’s landscape that makes your energy usage skyrocket. For instance, installing incandescent bulbs instead of LED bulbs uses more energy. If you light up the exterior of your building, consider smart landscape lighting that is easy to operate, customize, and schedule. If you don’t have one already, a landscape lighting transformer simplifies scheduling on and off times for exterior lights.
If you love planting colorful, fragrant flowers and shrubs around your home, switch to drought-tolerant plants like succulents next season. These don’t need much water or maintenance to stay alive, and neither do plants native to your area.
2. Professional Audits May Take Between 30 Minutes & Four Hours
How long a professional audit takes depends on your home size. During the assessment, the auditor uses infrared cameras, blower doors, and other tools and equipment to measure issues like cold and hot spots and leaks.
Most professional audits begin outside the home with an examination of walls, windows, eaves, and other components. The aim is to pinpoint issues that could cause leaks out of or into the property. Then, the auditor moves on to the attic to ensure there’s sufficient insulation distributed evenly between walls.
Auditors also check water heaters and furnaces to see whether they’re in proper working order. If you have older appliances, you may want to upgrade them to newer, more energy-efficient models. Expect the professional to examine your furnace filter and basement duct connections, which may have leaks.
3. Audit Price Depends on the Company and Property Size
The company conducting the home energy audit and the size of your home affect how much you pay for a home energy audit. Call a few local auditors for quotes and ask if they charge more for bigger homes or offer fixed rates. Some governmental and nonprofit organizations and utility companies in your area may conduct home energy assessments for free, so contact them, too.
Even if you must pay for an audit, you may save more money than you spend on the assessment. Energy upgrades you make to your property could increase its value while reducing future electricity bills.
4. Where You Live Affects When You Should Get an Energy Assessment
If you have higher-than-necessary energy bills, any time is the right time to schedule a home energy audit. After all, the sooner you make changes and upgrades, the sooner you save money. Even then, think about the season and where you live before arranging an expert assessment.
For example, your house may feel warm in some spots and drafty in others during the winter. If you live in a colder climate and notice your energy spending increases during the winter, make your home more energy efficient before cold weather returns.
Stop paying higher-than-necessary energy bills. Get the truth about where your home could use electrical upgrades and fixes with an energy audit.