Also known as a home energy assessment, a home energy audit is the process of inspecting and analyzing a home’s energy usage. As explained by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), it’s often performed with the goal of creating a more energy-efficient home. So, what exactly does a home energy audit entail?
The Basics of a Home Energy Audit
There’s no single “right” way to conduct a home energy audit. But an audit is typically performed using a variety of techniques and equipment. For instance, an auditor may use blower doors to measure the airtightness of a home or room, as well as infrared thermometers to identify hot and cold spots.
Here are some of the common tasks performed during a home energy audit:
- Measurement of heat flow resistance in walls, ceilings, floors, doors, and windows
- Inspection of the home’s heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system
- Visual inspection of weather-stripping around doors and windows
- Inspection of thermostat settings
- Inspection of major appliances (washing machine, dryer, oven, refrigerator and dishwasher)
- Inspection of home’s lighting and the bulb types used
- Examination of home’s mechanical and electrical systems
- Analysis of utility bills
- Inspection of insulation
Benefits of Conducting a Home Energy Audit
The greatest benefit of conducting a home energy audit is the potential cost savings it offers to homeowners. Most homeowners want to create a more energy-efficient home, but unfortunately few know where or how to begin. Well, a home energy audit is the perfect starting point. After the audit has been conducted, you’ll know exactly what’s consuming your energy. Using this information, you can make the necessary changes to create a more energy-efficient home while reaping the benefits of lower usage in the process.
DIY vs Professional Home Energy Audit
While some homeowners may feel inclined to conduct their own home energy audit, it’s usually best to leave this task in the hands of a professional. Such energy audits are typically conducted by utility companies, HVAC companies, insulation contractors and State energy offices.
When choosing a company to conduct a home energy audit, look at their experience and accreditation. The Building Performance Institute and the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) are the two leading accreditation providers for home energy audits in the United States. If a company is accredited with either of these, you can rest assured knowing they are knowledgeable in home energy audits.