An audit in the springtime? Sounds like a tax season nightmare. But, when comes to your home energy use, it may be just the thing to actually save you money.
With an energy audit, an expert asses the amount of energy your home consumes. They also identify ways to make your home more energy efficient. These usually happen in two phases.
First, the auditors establish baseline expectations for how much energy your home should use. This is based on the structure, HVAC systems and past energy bills. Then they compare it to how much energy the energy is currently using.
Then, the auditors use sophisticated instruments and techniques to measure the home itself. They look for everything from leaks to how well the HVAC system keeps hot and cold air separate. This all goes into the report showing how efficient your home is and what can be done to improve it.
The audit itself is easy and inexpensive. It usually takes around two hours and you’ll get a report within a few weeks. They should cost under $50.
But, are they worth it? You’ll have people wandering all over your house for a while. And, to make any use of it you may need to pay for repairs or upgrades to your home or HVAC equipment.
Even considering all that, an energy audit is still a good idea. For a few dollars and a little time, you can reap many rewards.
Energy audits can save you money
This is probably the most obvious benefit of an energy audit: saving money. Making your home more energy-efficient means your HVAC system uses less money to heat or cool it. And, of course, the less energy you use, the less you pay for.
It’s not that an audit will clue you into some secret technique to improve your energy efficiency. Usually, they’ll suggest actions such as adding insulation or replacing old windows. However, with an audit, you’re not taking guesses.
One aspect of an energy audit uses thermal imaging. This process shows even the tiniest differences in temperature at various points on your walls, ceilings and floors. This information shows where air is escaping.
This would let you know, for instance, which old windows are allowing heat to escape in the winter, or cooled air in the summer. The same would go for where you need more insulation to keep your climate controlled.
These investments mean less money you have to pay every month in energy bills. And, the audit cuts the costs of those investments themselves. By using information from the energy audit, you’ll be able to zero in on exactly what work will make the biggest impact.
And, a more efficient house is easier on your equipment. When your house doesn’t leak or trap air when it’s not supposed to, a heater or a/c does less work. This can extend the life of these large, expensive items.
Energy audits can make your home more comfortable
Of course, any work recommended in an energy audit won’t just decrease your bills. It will also increase your home comfort. Any work you do, from replacing old windows to adding insulation or even replacing appliances, will make your home better at maintaining the temperature you want.
For instance, you’ll eliminate drafts in the winter time. Imagine, finally, not feeling a stream of cold air slip in when the weather’s cold.
At the same time, a more efficient house helps your air conditioner work better. When the treated air isn’t escaping, your a/c can get the temperature down easier. You’ll notice a big difference if it’s seemed like your central air just hasn’t been cutting it.
These are little things that, like the dollars and cents on your bills, add up quickly.
Beware fraudulent energy audits
There is one thing to be wary of when it comes to energy audits: fraudulent ones. This can especially be a problem in the spring. Fortunately, they’re easy to spot if you know what to look for.
Spring is the ideal time for an energy audit. It’s the time of year when the heat is off but the a/c isn’t on yet. As a result, auditors can get an accurate look at how air travels through your home.
The problem is, scammers know this, too. And to them, it’s an opportunity.
Beware of anyone who comes to your home offering to do an energy audit. Even if they’re offering a great price or even free, there’s cause for concern if they show unexpected.
There could be any number of ploys at work. They may just take the money for the audit. Or, it could be a setup to sell you things you don’t need.
Even worse, they could be lifting items from your home while they’re in there. It’s also possible they’re casing the home for a burglary later.
For these reasons, it’s important to make sure the people behind your audit are trustworthy. The best way to do this is to call them yourself. Call your local energy company directly, and make sure it’s them when they show up.
If you still have questions about how to set up an energy audit, or what to do what once you’ve received the results, call us at (585) 641-3080 to find out how to make your home more efficient and comfortable.