Home energy audits help residents answer the question: How efficient is your home? They are the first step towards saving energy and money. During an energy assessment, an auditor will perform a series of tests to assess how much energy your home consumes and recommend ways to make it more efficient.
Audits are often recommended before making improvements to the home.
Making efficiency improvements identified during the test can lower energy bills, improve home comfort, increase property values, and even protect the environment by lowering your emission of greenhouse gases. Continue reading to learn more about home energy audits and why you should schedule one today.
Cost of Home Energy Audits
The Salt River Project (SRP) and Arizona Public Service (APS) are two of Arizona’s largest public utility providers. These companies subsidize the cost of ENERGY STAR® Checkups. Through them your cost is just $99 (a $400 value). The tests must be completed by a participating contractor.
What to Expect
Plan three to four hours for the audit. Once the auditor arrives at your home, s/he will analyze your recent energy bills; complete visual safety inspections; and use highly complex equipment – such as a blower door and an infrared camera – to detect where and how energy is being lost.
The auditor will examine your HVAC equipment, insulation and windows, as well as test for drafts. The technician may also provide you with a home energy efficiency score. This is based on your home type, floors, number of occupants, size in square feet (finished rooms only), age, and location. The score ranges from one to 10.
After the audit, the auditor will also pinpoint needed efficiency improvements based on his/her findings. These are usually listed in order of importance. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “you could save an estimated five to 30 percent on your energy bill by making efficiency upgrades identified in your home energy audit.”
The Auditor’s Toolbox
Blower Door: A blower door is a powerful fan that mounts into the frame of an exterior door. This is used to check for air leaks. The fan starts blowing, pulling air out of the house, and thus lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air then flows in via unsealed holes, cracks, and other openings in the building’s envelope. The auditor will then use a special tool to pinpoint these openings, so that they can be sealed.
Infrared Camera: This camera is used during thermography or infrared scanning. It measures surface temperatures to determine whether insulation is needed. It can reveal areas in walls, ceilings, and attic spaces where insulation was improperly installed as well. Infrared cameras are commonly used while the blower test is being conducted to aid the auditor in identifying areas in need of air sealing.
If your electricity bill is high, a home energy audit can help you not only determine why, but also help you save money after needed improvements have been made. Banker Insulation participates with both SRP and APS to provide professional home energy audits to residents throughout the greater Phoenix metro area.