An energy audit is conducted by public utility companies or independent private-sector specialists. Make sure you choose an auditor who’s been certified by the Association of Energy Engineers, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, or the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Note that there are different accreditation requirements for auditors specializing in single family homes versus multi-family residences.
While an energy audit can be done at anytime, if you live in cold climate, a winter audit is particularly useful for finding leaks that may be costing you every month. To prepare for an audit, make sure that your attic, basement and all other rooms are easy to access. You’ll want to have one year’s worth of utility bills, including fuel delivery information.
The auditor is going to examine your home inside and out, looking at everything from windows and doors to appliances and lighting, in order to provide you with a complete assessment and recommendations. A thorough energy audit has the potential to save you anywhere from 5 to 30% on your monthly energy bills.
What the auditor will do during your home’s energy audit
- Conduct a complete physical, visual, and thermographic inspection to identify where energy may be leaking from your home
- Confirm that adequate insulation is properly in place in the attic, outside facing walls, and foundation
- Inspect all windows and doors for leaks
- Confirm that both the furnace and water heater are performing up to standard based on their age and usage and that all duct work is properly sealed and insulated
- Test all electrical appliances and confirm they are properly vented and energy efficient
- Confirm that all electrical wiring is properly insulated
- Confirm that your home is properly ventilated and that you have both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms properly located throughout the house
- Test air quality
- Test for radon
- Identify any lead-based paint, asbestos, or other hazardous materials such as mold and mildew
- Conduct a “blower door test” which consists of using fans to suck the air out of your home making it easy to identify leaks. This critical test is best performed in the winter months.
A full energy audit assessment and recommendations should include…
- A list of any repairs needed, both inside and outside
- An evaluation of the condition of and/or need for storm doors and windows
- An evaluation of all doors and windows, including their components and performance
- Recommendations for additional insulation, the type of insulation materials to be added, and the proper location for insulation or air-sealing
- Whether adequate ventilation exists or should be added
- If a moisture management strategy is needed
- The energy efficiency of furnace, water heater, air conditioning, and all appliances and light fixtures with suggestions for replacement if necessary
- An evaluation of the impact of any potential health and safety issues
As a homeowner you’re always looking for ways to save money and add to the value of your home. An energy audit is a great way to achieve both of these goals and make your home more comfortable — no matter what the weather.