A home energy audit helps individual homeowners find out their residential consumption and energy flow. An audit is useful to determine areas of your home where there is energy loss and by identifying where power usage may be curbed to earn savings. The process involves conducting a walk-through or a visual inspection of your home, and utilizing testing equipment to identify problems and analyze energy flow.
An energy audit can be done either by you, you, or a professional energy auditor. Depending on the size of your home, a typical energy audit can be completed in an hour to several hours. If you’re unsure about investing in a professional energy auditor, there are tools online that can help you conduct your own assessment. While it may not be as thorough as a professional audit, it could provide you with a basic understanding of the process. This can include a “do-it-yourself assessment” where you inspect your home like a professional audit – looking at copies of monthly utility bills to determine spikes and dips in energy expenditures or potential issues with existing appliances and systems in your home.
On the other hand, a professional energy audit involves a thorough survey of the home using a variety of techniques and testing equipment. According to energystar.gov, the equipment includes blower doors for leak detection and other gadgets like infrared cameras to determine temperature fluctuations such as an unusual hot or cold spot in the home, which could indicate issues with the heating or cooling system.
For those who are unsure about getting an energy audit, a home with an enormous power bill may have issues with the insulation, heating, and cooling. These issues include indoor air leaks, heat loss, and ventilation problems. The process is not just applicable for older residential homes, newly-constructed homes could also have issues that may not be detectable through a simple visual assessment.
A professional home energy audit can help to pinpoint these issues and develop immediate solutions by inspecting your home and specifically looking at windows, doors, and other areas, as well as heating and cooling systems. By addressing these issues, it could potentially result to energy savings of 10 – 20 percent per year, according to energy.gov. Non-efficient appliances, gadgets, and lighting are other potential areas of energy loss that may be identified through an energy audit. Energy auditor can also look at a home’s existing appliances or lighting fixtures to check for energy efficiency compliance and suggests upgrades that can help you with additional savings.
There are few disadvantages to having a professional energy audit. It is important to note that auditing fees can add up as costs associated with multiple services often increase with added equipment and testing. To prepare for an audit, energy.gov suggests you create a list of observable problems, copies of monthly utility bills, and other required information. One of the objectives of an energy audit is to help you develop a plan to curb energy costs. Having the necessary information available to the auditor will help to facilitate this process.