Energy Audit & Home Repair
An energy audit for your home is the same as a visit to your doctor for a physical--except we make house calls!
When the doctor checks your blood pressure it’s the first sign if anything is wrong with your body.
In a house we check the airflow. What blood pressure is to the body, airflow is for the home. If you have high airflow, like high blood pressure, you’ve got problems. For a house its high costs for energy.
A home energy audit is the building science approach toward calculating what the airflow should be and measuring what it actually is.
The home energy audit will help you to identify ways to reduce building airflow. If you can reduce airflow you lower your energy costs!
The energy audit is also about health and safety; making sure combustion appliances are working properly as well as checking to see that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and working.
A comprehensive home energy audit is a series of tests and inspections to find out where your house could be more efficient.
The end goal is to save energy, save money, and make your house more comfortable. Installing energy efficient lighting and appliances will help. So will creating a sealed barrier around your house, kinda like putting a blanket around the outside, minimizing the leaks.
Upgrading your home to save energy can put anywhere from 5 to 50% of your energy bill back in your pocket.
To get a thorough home energy audit you'll need some help from a professional… Look for a home energy technician—called an "auditor"—in your area.
In this cold weather evaluation, the auditor starts on the outside, looking for problems around walls, joints and under the eaves. If there's not a tight fit, you're losing energy and money.
Next, the auditor might head up to your attic to check for leaks on the top of your home barrier. That trap door could be a culprit—letting cold air pass into the house.
A big part of the check-up is determining how well the insulation insulates. Insulation should be correctly installed in between all areas of the house frame. That means it needs to be evenly applied and not just jammed into spaces. And, of course, if the insulation has fallen down, it's not working.
Your energy auditor will inspect the holes where electrical lines pass through. If they're not sealed, they're leaking.
Then it's down to the basement. Your furnace and water heater could be wasting energy.
The auditor will check to see how energy efficient the furnace is. Furnaces generally lose efficiency as they get older and it could cost you more to keep yours running than to replace it with a new one.
Maybe all you need is a new filter. Some people haven't changed their filter for months—even years. That gunk clogging the filter means your furnace has to work harder to heat your home.
If the water heater is several years old, it may not be efficient. And if it isn't insulated, it's also losing energy.
Now, it's on to the ductwork. The technician will inspect connections to make sure they make a tight fit. They have to be sealed to keep the warm air going where it's supposed to go. If the screwdriver can go in the hole, it means one thing for sure: Money is going out!
Now for the blower door test. The energy auditor will close all the windows and doors and anything else that lets outside air in. This special fan will depressurize the home. The idea is to suck air out of the house, allowing outside air to rush into the home through all those openings you didn't know about.
With the windows and doors closed and the fan running, leaks are easy to spot with an infrared camera. In winter the auditor will scan the interior of the home looking for cold air rushing in. Here, the darker the color, the worse it is. These black spots mean one big air leak. It's an eye opening experience.
For some houses, the recessed lighting fixtures are big problems. The auditor will also take a look at the kinds of light bulbs in those fixtures. If they're incandescents, they're using a lot of energy. Warm compact fluorescents are an energy saving alternative.
So, the home energy assessment reveals the ways that energy escapes your home, costing you money. The good news is, you'll have a comprehensive home energy report showing which efficiency upgrades are right for you and where to stop those pesky leaks.