The Benefits of Home Energy Audits
There is a good chance that you are paying too much for your electricity each month. Actually, your money is most likely literally flying out your window! To save money on your monthly utilities costs you may want to consider making some energy-saving improvements around the house, but it can be challenging to know where to begin.
Home energy audits can help with that. Having a home energy audit done will enable you to understand how energy is used in your home. Only by determining this can specific areas be addressed. Some people ask whether the costs of the upgrades required will really be worth it in terms of energy savings in the long run. Let’s investigate.
Home energy audits in a nutshell:
A home energy audit refers to a complete assessment of energy used in your home. It helps to determine where upgrades or simple changes can be made to improve your home’s overall energy efficiency.
Home energy audits can help homeowners to lower their electricity consumption, as well as reduce their carbon footprint. It can furthermore contribute to an increase in market value for your home. Overall, your home can become a safer, healthier and happier place to live.
The cost of a professionally conducted home energy audit can range between $100 and $500. The cost may be more if you have a larger home or if some specialized testing needs to take place.
Electricity expenses can be reduced by up to 30% as a result of a home energy audit, but it’s the initial investment in the energy-efficient upgrades that requires some planning.
If you don’t feel like hiring a professional to do the audit, it is possible to conduct your own. Just follow the below checklist.
A Home Energy Audit Explained
A complete home energy audit is also sometimes referred to as a “home energy assessment”. It refers to an evaluation of your home’s overall energy usage. An energy auditor will perform the audit by conducting a thorough inspection of your entire home and will carry out certain tests. This will help identify where improvements can be made to save energy going forward.
Here are some of the most frequently conducted tests during a home audit procedure:
A blower door test can determine an approximate amount of energy leaks in your home.
A thermographic inspection uses infrared cameras to locate hot and cold spots in your house. This test can also help locate the source of energy leaks that sometimes can occur around a fireplace or via floorboards.
Indoor health screening, which focuses on the level of carbon monoxide and traces of mold present in your home.
HVAC system testing to determine the efficiency of your system and check for leaks.
On completion of the inspection, the auditor will be able to ascertain where your home’s energy efficiency can improve and make some recommendations for changes and upgrades that will work best for you.
What are the costs associated with expert home energy audits?
An audit will typically cost the household between $100 and $500, although in some instances the price of the audit could exceed $1 000.
These audits are often charged on a per-square-foot basis and prices can range from $0.10 to $0.40 per square foot. Smaller homes will therefore be charged less than their larger counterparts.
The tests conducted during the audit can also influence the price. For instance, if a blower test is performed, but not included in the initial estimate, it will increase the audit’s overall cost.
DIY Energy Audit
Conducting your own DIY home energy audit is of course another way to go. Especially if hiring a professional is just not in your budget.
You may not have access to the tools or training of a professional, nor obtain a complete and accurate overview of your home’s energy efficiency, however, you can still achieve a considerable savings by recognizing some of the problems on your own.
Here are some important items to look out for during a DIY home energy audit:
If you have experienced any draftiness in your home, look especially around windows, doors, floorboards and outlets to try and locate the air leak. Once found, caulk it or seal it with a weatherstrip.
Inspect your home’s insulation. If you can clearly see the attic floor joists, you may want to increase your insulation. Have a good look behind your outlets to make sure your walls are properly insulated.
For a quick, cost effective, and efficient way to reduce your electricity usage, switch to LED lightbulbs.
Time is money! Sooner is better than later when it comes to conducting a thorough energy audit for your home. Improving your home’s energy efficiency is important, but when is the ideal time to have it done? Well, that would depend on where you live. Homeowners in the Northeast that want to reduce their energy expenses may want to consider an audit and having the relevant upgrades done before the next winter season. If you live in Arizona or Texas, it would be best to finalize your improvements before the summer season arrives, so you can maintain your cooling system without spending a fortune on energy costs.
How much can you expect to save after an energy audit?
The energy audit will highlight areas that need attention. If you carry out these improvements, you can expect to save around 30% of your energy costs. This means that by increasing your home’s energy efficiency, you can lower a $150 bill down to $105.
These savings, however, are often as a result of a significant energy improvement investment.
You can expect to recover the cost of your energy efficient upgrades through your accumulated savings, in about ten years. This is of course an estimate as the cost vs saving ratio will depend on a few factors, like the contractors you use and appliances you install.
Keep in mind that this is your home, your project and you make the choices. There is no need to make all the recommended upgrades at once. For instance, if you have a refrigerator that is in perfect working order but uses a bit more electricity compared to a newer model, don’t make the switch just yet. Wait until the right time, if it comes at all. It’s entirely up to you.
Tip: check to see whether your state or utility company offers any specific energy-efficiency rebate programs. Programs like Mass Save for instance, can help guide you in making decisions based on which upgrades will result in maximum benefits.
Which benefits can you expect from a home energy audit?
There are numerous advantages to investing in a home energy audit, which can include the following:
Reducing your energy costs. By consuming less electricity from your provider, you can see a significant reduction in your annual energy expenses.
Reduce your carbon footprint. Most utility companies derive their energy from fossil fuels. By reducing your electricity usage, you are relying less on fossil fuels and in turn you are living an eco-friendlier and more sustainable lifestyle.
Increased health and safety at home. A home energy audit focuses on more than improvements necessary to run a home energy efficient household. It can also make you aware of underlying safety issues like mold or mildew. Armed with this information you can make the necessary changes to create a healthier and safer home environment.
Increased comfort at home. Not only will you benefit from the savings created through running a more energy efficient home, but your comfort levels will improve by maintaining a more consistent temperature throughout your home.
Increased market value for your home. By allowing Solarwerks to carry out your energy efficiency improvements, you will increase your home’s market value. A home that includes energy efficient fixtures like new windows, LED light bulbs, and more, is more attractive to potential buyers.
Would a home energy audit be worthwhile for you?
The majority of homeowners should be able to carry out a DIY home energy audit. You can save money on hiring a professional and take care of many of the cost-saving projects by yourself. Things like replacing your lightbulbs, weatherstripping doors and windows will go a long way to reduce energy leakages.
For older homes we would recommend hiring a professional home energy audit company, like Solarwerks. Older homes are more prone to drafts and other energy losses and are also more frequently plagued by mold and low air quality issues, when compared to newer homes. If this applies to you; you will want to consider hiring professionals instead.
Hiring a professional home energy audit company is also a great idea after purchasing a new home that you are planning to renovate. By being aware of air leaks, HVAC system problems, or low air quality issues, you can include these upgrades in your renovation plans, right from the start.
Whether you opt to go the DIY route or would prefer to call on the professionals, like Solarwerks, you will certainly benefit from the increased energy efficiency and the resulting cost savings. Your home will become a more comfortable, safer and healthier place for you to enjoy every day.
A solar panel installation will further reduce your energy costs. Solar panels for your home have the potential to do away with energy bills altogether. You can fully power your home with green, renewable energy by using solar panels for home use. Nothing can beat that! Contact your local solar panel company, Solarwerks, today to inquire about solar panel solutions that will suit your budget and lifestyle.