A home energy audit or energy evaluation or energy assessment is exactly as it sounds. Much like any audit that is performed on finances, jobs or companies, an audit will assess all of your home’s energy uses and outline all of the specifics. In simple words, a home energy audit is a process that helps you to identify where your home is losing energy and what steps you can take to improve energy efficiency.
A home energy audit is something that every homeowner should be doing every two to three years in order to ensure maximum efficiency and spending.You can perform a home energy audit on your own, or you can hire someone to come in and perform a more professional approach. No matter which route you take with a home energy audit, you’ll be able to find room to save energy and money and help reduce your carbon footprint.
Apart from this, it also assesses health and safety issues that might exist in your home. You’ll also be setting a standard for your family and helping yourself better understand exactly how you use energy every day and what types of methods you can take in the future in order to prevent it from happening in excess.
Types of Energy Audits
1. Hire Professional Energy Auditor
A professional service can save you the time and effort it takes from having to gather all of this information yourself. Although the process is a little less enlightening and more costly, if you’re not prepared to sit down and sift through every bill (or you haven’t kept copies of every single one), then this method is probably the best approach.
A professional energy auditor will go through different aspects of your energy usage and identify key outliers, just like you would do in your own audit. The benefits of using a professional against using your own two hands include:
- A significant saving of time spent doing other things.
- A more professional look at where you could be saving energy and costs.
- Someone who is skilled in the industry and can perform results for you in the form of a report or recommendations.
A professional auditor will take into consideration a number of factors – the size of your family, your home and much more.
2. DIY (Do-it-yourself)
Sometimes an audit can take quite a long time to complete, and other times if you have the right resources available, it’s as simple as adding and comparing some numbers. If you keep copies of all of your bills such as hydro, electrical, water, heat, AC, etc., then the process for performing a home energy audit on your own can be relatively simple.
Using an electricity bill as an example, get copies of the last year’s worth of bills you have paid without trying to save on energy. Go through these bills month by month, outlining the important factor first: the final cost. Follow these quick and efficient steps while you go through your bills in order to assess your energy costs so far:
- The final amount paid on each bill at the end of each month.
- When you used energy in low, mid and high peak periods.
- How much energy was being used in your home during the month.
- Identify what the energy was used for (think back and consider any potential outlying factors which may have contributed to either a high or low usage period, and try to keep track of these events in the future).
- Go through each of the bills and figure out if there was any room to save money that month, or if the costs of your energy had gone up significantly within that time (sometimes energy costs can go up in the middle of a billing period, so take that into consideration as well).
When you consider all of these variables and weigh each month against each other, you’ll be able to come up with some final numbers, including:
- The amount of energy you used that year in kW/h.
- The final amount of money spent throughout the year.
- When you often used energy during mid or high peaks.
By identifying this information, you’re already halfway done with your audit. Now perform each of these steps through separate bills and come to a final sum. You can then use this information to create a plan that works for you moving forward.
10 Great Reasons To Perform a Home Energy Audit
1. Understand Your Energy Usage
An energy audit is an assessment of your home that takes a look at current energy consumption. An energy audit lets you understand where and how energy is used. Understanding where and how your home uses (or wastes) energy empowers you to make productive changes to your home or lifestyle.
2. Identify Your Potential Energy-saving Opportunities
An energy auditor can assess where your home is losing the most energy and then proposes improvements to make to help save energy and reduce your utility bills. Once a home energy auditor identifies where your home requires energy improvements, you can take steps to resolve the issue. An audit may reveal the need to clean your air ducts, changing settings on appliances, upgrading kitchen appliances to energy-rated models, or changing your shower head to use less hot water.
Major upgrades could be installing a solar energy system, replacing worn window weather stripping or changing the insulation in your walls. With your energy auditor’s advice, you’ll have a better idea of where to begin.
3. Save Money
The very first advantage of performing a home energy audit is that it will help you save money on your utility bills, depending on what kind of upgrades you make to your home. You could save 5% to 30 % no your electricity bill by making upgrades identified in your home energy audit.
4. Reduce Carbon Footprint
When you reduce your energy needs, it will automatically reduce your carbon footprint, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Fixing air leakage, proper insulation, using maximum daylights, changing old appliances with energy-efficient ones, using less electricity for heating are a few of the ways that can help reduce your impact on the environment.
5. Save Energy
A professional energy audit isn’t only about energy efficiency; it’s also about saving money on your power bills right away in the long run. Improper insulation and leaky windows are the two most common things that cause air leakage. Just by fixing these two things, you can reduce much of your energy needs. Although there might be other things on the list to save energy, these two things together are the most effective ways to save money and energy.
A reputable energy-efficiency expert can also give you advice on government rebates. If you’re eligible for these, you can save even more by taking advantage of discounts, special deals, and other incentives.
6. Ensure Health and Safety
Safety for your family should be of utmost priority to you. During an energy audit, a home is inspected for health and safety. The audit team uses advanced tools and techniques to check if there are any electrical or other hazards, ensure the wiring is done properly so that it will not lead to electrical fires, test for fuel leaks in the furnace, perform combustion appliance zone testing on all combustion fuel-powered appliances.
Additionally, during an audit, homeowners commonly identify air leakage around doors, a lack of proper insulation or unwanted sources of moisture. Once moisture problems are identified, steps can be taken to maintain ideal home humidity, which can yield positive health results—especially for family members who live with allergies or asthma.
7. Set a Standard for Your Friends and Relatives
Doing an energy audit can help you identify the ways to save energy for your home. This way, you can set an example for the rest of the people and let them know how you managed to bring down your electricity bills and what steps they can take to take advantage of the same.
By adopting small energy-saving methods by a large number of households can certainly bring down energy consumption and make this planet safe for our future generations to come.
8. Increase Your Home Comfort
Energy audit improves the energy efficiency of your home and increases control over your home environment. You could work out why you could never properly warm your house in winter by having your ventilation system and heat leaks checked. If you need extra insulation, an investment of additional roof and wall insulation could make your home more soundproof and tranquil.
Upgrading and maintaining your heating and cooling system can improve air quality in the home. Your HVAC system will be able to heat or cool your home with greater efficiency, extending its service life, improving your personal comfort and lowering your energy bill.
9. Increase Home’s Resale Value
Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the best home improvements you can make to increase property values if you eventually sell the property or lease it. Energy-efficient homes with additions such as solar panels, a solar hot water system, extra insulation, and energy-efficient temperature control are highly sought after by potential buyers. Even if you don’t plan on selling in the near future, these upgrades could eventually pay for themselves when you do sell your property.
10. Boost Energy Efficiency in the Home
Energy audits are designed to improve energy efficiency in your home, so you can expect your audit to help you make a clear plan for improvements.
- Air leaks and insulation – For example, an energy audit can help you locate air leaks, which come through gaps in your flooring, ceiling, or walls. Your energy audit could also include a check of heat loss through poor insulation. In older homes, especially, the level of insulation might be inadequate.
- Heating, cooling, and electronics – Your energy audit would also include checks of your heating and cooling equipment, including your hot-water system as well as your thermostat and air conditioning. When functioning poorly, these items can use up more energy than normal, and your energy audit can tell you if you need to clean them, change filters, or replace older equipment. For example, if you’ve worked out you’re wasting energy on central heating, you can switch to in-room heating, so you’re paying for heating only in the spaces you’re occupying. Similarly, you can also have your appliances and electronics tested during your audit to find out how much electricity they’re using.