A home energy assessment, also known as a home energy audit, is the first step to learn how much energy your home consumes and to evaluate what you can do to make your home more energy efficient, and save you some serious dough. Get started with an easy, do-it-yourself assessment or learn how to secure a professional assessment.
Do It Yourself Assessment (Also Known As An Energy Audit)
When assessing your home, keep a checklist of areas you have inspected and problems you found. This list will help you prioritize your energy efficiency upgrades.
- Make a list of obvious air leaks (drafts). The potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home may range from 5% to 30% per year, and the home is generally much more comfortable afterward.
- Check to see if air can flow through these places:
*Weather stripping around doors
*Wall- or window-mounted air conditioners
*Gaps around pipes and wires, electrical outlets, foundation seals, and mail slots
- Heat loss through the ceiling and walls in your home could be very large if the insulation levels are less than the recommended minimum. Insulate your home if:
*You have an older home and haven't added insulation. Only 20% of homes built before 1980 are well insulated.
*You are uncomfortably cold in the winter or hot in the summer—adding insulation creates a more uniform temperature and increases comfort.
*You build a new home, addition, or install new siding or roofing.
*You pay high energy bills.
*You are bothered by noise from outside—insulation muffles sound.
Check Heating and Cooling Equipment
- Inspect heating and cooling equipment annually, or as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Energy for lighting accounts for about 10% of your electric bill. Examine the wattage size of the light bulbs in your house and consider replacing them with ENERGY STAR® qualified CFLs or LEDs.
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Once you complete your Energy Assessment you can find out more information on how to make changes to your home here.
Professional Energy Assessment
Professional energy assessments generally go into great detail. The energy auditor should do a room-by-room examination of your home, as well as a thorough examination of past utility bills.
Preparing for your energy assessment
- Before the energy auditor visits your house, make a list of any existing problems such as condensation and uncomfortable or drafty rooms. Have copies or a summary of the home's yearly energy bills.
Selecting an Energy Assessor
- Your state or local government energy or weatherization office may help you identify a local company or organization that performs audits.
- Your electric or gas utility may conduct residential energy assessments or recommend local auditors.
- Check your telephone directory under headings beginning with the word "Energy" for companies that perform residential energy assessments.
- Before contracting with an energy auditing company, you should take the following steps:
*Get several references, and contact them all. Ask if they were satisfied with the work.
*Call the Better Business Bureau and ask about any complaints against the company.
*Make sure the energy auditor uses a calibrated blower door.
*Make sure they do thermographic inspections or contract another company to conduct one.