Going green has become a major trend in the last few years.
Not only do green practices help the environment, but they also allow you to save potentially hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs.
Having a home energy assessment makes improving your home’s energy use easy as can be.
Keep reading to learn the basics of home energy audits and to find out what the benefits to you are.
Professional Home Energy Assessment or DIY?
The first energy decision to make is whether to do your energy audit yourself or hire a professional. You can sometimes save money with a DIY assessment but you need to know what you are doing.
Performing a basic assessment is pretty easy. You start by searching for any drafts or leaks around outside doors and windows. These are the most common reasons for higher energy bills.
Once you have checked those you want to inspect your attic insulation. Heat rises so the insulation above your rooms is the most important for summer or winter. If you have older insulation or loose fill you should look for bare spots.
The final step is to look at the wall insulation and check for any exposed duct-work. This will give you a basic understanding of your home’s energy situation. If you see any trouble spots it is time to call in a professional.
They can do an in-depth inspection and actually use heat and electrical sensors to determine where hot or cold spots are in your home.
Identify Leaks and Insulation Problems
Having your home properly sealed and insulated is absolutely essential. Most energy loss in older homes comes from doors, windows, and poorly installed insulation.
Door frames need to be snuggly fitted into the wall. There should not be any cracks or loose spots as these can allow drafts. Every spot where outside air and inside air come into contact costs you money.
Windows have similar issues with cracks and gaps. Many older homes still have single-pane windows that provide almost no insulation.
You should have double or even triple-pane glass with a good R-value. The properly fitted frame prevents air exchange while the double pane insulation protects against radiant heat.
In the summer, this helps prevent the sun’s harsh rays from heating up your home. In the winter, the warmer air inside your house can dissipate as it contacts the ice cold glass of the window.
Even more important is the insulation in your attic and walls. The walls themselves prevent the flow of air but can still allow heat to radiate out.
If you have an older home, one of the best investments you can make is to your insulation. Fiberglass was the most commonly used insulation a few decades ago but is now completely outperformed by spray foam.
If it is in your budget you should definitely upgrade to higher quality insulation.
Find Trouble Spots and Places to Improve
One of the biggest benefits of an energy efficiency audit is in identifying places you can improve. Even if the bones of your house are fine, you may be able to target specific spots.
Many people do not consider their home’s ductwork. This is what carries the heated or chilled air from your HVAC system throughout your home.
Older homes especially often have poorly or completely uninsulated ducts. This means the air you have just paid to condition is losing its effect before it reaches your rooms.
If you are in a fixer-upper situation the ducts may even be badly connected. In some cases, shoddy builders will leave a totally disconnected duct that is just blowing treated air into your attic or basement.
This is also one of the easiest things to fix, you can properly seal and attach them with basic tools.
Appliances are another great place for improvement. If your major appliances came with the house when you bought it there is a good chance they are out of date.
Older washers, dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators are far less efficient than modern ones. You could be paying double or even triple in energy costs running a 10 or 15-year-old appliance.
Lower Energy Bills
The ultimate goal with a home energy inspection is to find places for improvement. Once you know where your home is lacking you can save a lot of money with basic upgrades.
Poorly insulated homes cost much more to heat than those with modern spray foam throughout. The same goes for homes with poorly fitted doors and windows that allow drafts.
Heating and cooling account for more than half of the average American’s home energy bill. By properly sealing and insulating your home you can see substantial savings over time.
If you completely follow a home energy audit checklist you can save a bundle. Repairing and upgrading your doors and windows, plus upgrading your insulation, will reduce the energy lost from hot and cold air escaping.
Raise Your Home’s Value
Green design is in right now. People are becoming more conscious of their effect on the environment and how much money green practices can save them.
Homeowners who invest in upgraded insulation will see an average 116.9% return on their original investment. That is an incredible return you cannot receive anywhere else.
It is actually higher than the return on popular renovations like kitchen updates and improved bathrooms.
This really shows up when you try to sell your home. You will need to have your house appraised before selling.
Trained appraisers place a high-value on energy efficient upgrades and practices. A properly sealed home with high R-value insulation throughout will rate higher than one without.
Always Look For Value
Having a home energy assessment performed gives you a blueprint for improving your home. It identifies all the issues raising your heating and cooling costs. Once you know where the problems are it is easy to have them corrected.
In the end, you will both save money on a year to year basis and raise the value of your home.
If you would like to learn more about improving your home’s insulation, contact us now for a free estimate.