Most homeowners want to do what they can to make their homes more energy efficient, but it’s less common to know exactly where to focus those efforts. To make informed decisions about energy efficiency upgrades, you’ll need to search your home from top to bottom in a process called an energy audit.
An energy audit is a thorough inspection of a home’s infrastructure and appliances designed to identify opportunities for upgrades. Most energy audits take only a few hours and conclude with a detailed report that includes specific recommendations.
It’s All About HVAC
There are lots of things in the average home that consume energy, but the HVAC system tops the list by leaps and bounds. So it should come as no surprise that lots of attention is paid to HVAC energy efficiency during an energy audit.
A professional energy auditor will look all over the home for signs of air leaks -- areas where your cool air escapes in summer and heated air escapes in winter. Plugging these leaks is one of the most important steps toward saving money on climate control. Equally important is your home insulation; if your auditor finds insulation that is missing, flattened or otherwise damaged, it should be repaired as quickly as possible.
Your HVAC equipment itself is another key factor, because air conditioners and furnaces can become less efficient with time. An auditor should be able to tell you whether it’s cheaper in the long run to go ahead and replace your aging equipment now.
A thorough energy audit will also include recommendations for things like replacing windows, upgrading roofing materials and even planting trees in strategic locations.
Opportunities in Every Room of the Home
From the bathrooms to the basement, most homes are full of areas in need of energy efficiency improvement. Auditors examine appliances for signs of overdue maintenance, which can be a big issue with energy hogs like refrigerators and hot water heaters. They’ll also check to see if the equipment itself is inherently inefficient -- in some cases, it may make more financial sense to replace an appliance with an ENERGY STAR-certified model even if it still has a few years of service left in it.
Auditors will also look for the little things, like incandescent light bulbs, which can be replaced with vastly more efficient LED alternatives. They’ll also keep an eye out for electronics that are drawing energy when not in use, and propose ways to put a stop to those phantom loads -- though the easiest solution is usually just to unplug the device.
Boosting your household energy efficiency can be a breeze if you know what you’re doing. So if you’re ready to get a detailed report on how you can save, get in touch with your local electrical experts today!