You Asked, We Answer: Is a Home Energy Audit Worth It?

December 06, 2022

Did you perform a double take when you took a look at your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the end result of intense weather events, consistently high bills can also suggest an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy by other means, including drafty windows or inadequate insulation.

One of the simplest ways to figure out whether your home is using too much energy is by getting a home service professional to perform a home energy audit, also known as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to learn all about home energy audits, including what they are and their benefits.

What Is a Home Energy Audit

An energy audit is a custom inspection of how much energy your home consumes and whether – and where – your home may be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will take a look at previous energy bills during an energy audit to find out where energy is being wasted and how much.

The general goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by suggesting energy-efficient improvements, which may include replacing your current HVAC system, installing new insulation, sealing up leaks, or replacing loose windows.

Over the course of the energy assessment, the auditor performs an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor completes a blower door test on doorways, windows and fireplaces to find out if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also check your home’s HVAC system, including the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Comprehensive assessments might also include reviewing your current lighting system.

Benefits of a Home Energy Audit

It can be difficult for the ordinary homeowner to know for sure how efficient their home is versus other similar homes in their neighborhood. However, local energy companies often offer information about where your home is ranked in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient compared to your neighbors’ homes. This can be a good starting point to determine if you need an energy audit performed.

Some of the benefits of a home energy audit include:

Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is

It’s beneficial to understand how efficient your home is and where you’re using the most energy. For example, if your ducts are damaged, it can cause a large increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system as it has to run longer to fully heat or cool your home.

Making Energy-Efficient Updates

An energy audit will reveal where you need to make energy-efficient upgrades to cut back on energy and reduce utility bills. This can include replacing worn weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.

Improving Health and Safety

Allowing air to slip into your home via doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause excessive moisture to form, which could negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or lead to mold. This can cause health problems, especially for people suffering from asthma or allergies.

Adding to Your Home’s Retail Value

Energy-efficient homes are sought after by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by demonstrating to prospective buyers that it’s energy efficient.

How to Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home

Although performing an energy audit on your own might not be as thorough as calling a professional, it’ll give you a generalized understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t find any issues during the DIY test, then you probably don’t need to call in a professional. Try this step-by-step checklist:

  • Inspect your HVAC system. Broken ducts can lose nearly 20% of conditioned air, resulting in more expensive energy bills and increased wear and tear on HVAC equipment. If you discover leaks, use duct tape to close them. If your HVAC equipment is old and wearing down, upgrading to a new system can save you a significant amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it is better to contact a reputable HVAC company in Erie to inspect your system.
  • Look for air leaks. Air leaks on average can increase monthly energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where you can find a draft, such as along the edge of flooring and along baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can inspect for air leaks in the home’s foundation, siding and mortar. Plug, caulk or seal any air leaks to save money.
  • Inspect insulation. If your home is older, it could mean your insulation is too. If you can see the joists, you likely need more insulation.
  • Check ventilation. Check that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are functioning properly, and look for evidence of rot or moisture.

Contact Patterson & Stirling Inc for a Professional Energy Audit

If you would like professional help figuring out how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC professionals at Patterson & Stirling Inc today. We’ve proudly served the residents of Erie with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to set up an appointment.