If you’ve ever wondered about ways to lower your fuel bill or noticed a spike in energy use in your house, then it’s time to get a home energy assessment. A home energy assessment or audit can help give you some valuable information about your home and the appliances and systems that may use a lot of energy. The audit will provide you with some energy-saving answers and advice to save you money. If you’re still not sure if you need one, read on to see our top 3 reasons to get a home energy assessment.
You Think Your Fuel Bill Is Too High
No one ever says that their bill is too low, but many do want to know the reason why their bill went up. If you’ve noticed a bump up in what you are paying each month for fuel, especially in the winter months, then it’s time to call for a basic assessment.
When done by a professional, the home energy audit, or energy assessment, will:
- Show you the problem areas of your home when it comes to energy loss.
- Give you techniques and improvements you can make to lower your home’s energy use.
- Teach you how much money you can save when you use less energy.
All these items can show you how to lower your bill and get to the root of what’s causing the spike in energy use.
You Want To Make Your Home More Efficient
Another reason to get a home energy assessment is to see where your home is losing energy – costing you more money and a loss of efficiency.
According to Keith Hill, technical support manager at Minnesota Air, a basic assessment includes an energy expert performing a simple inspection of the home’s envelope and the major appliances – furnace, air conditioner, and water heater.
“A more thorough audit may include a comprehensive inspection of the structure and energy efficiency testing of the major appliances, possibly an assessment of the refrigerator and freezer,” he says. “The very best audit would include an infrared scan (thermal imaging) of the building to pinpoint the areas of greatest heat loss.”
Thermal imaging – or a thermographic inspection – typically works best in the winter or once there is a large enough temperature difference between inside and outside air. According to the Department of Energy, thermography requires “images on the video or film to record the temperature variations of the building's skin, ranging from white for warm regions to black for cooler areas.” This means if the tool shows white, red and orange colored areas on your house, that’s where the most heat loss is occurring.
You Want To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Making your home more efficient leads to a reduction in your family’s carbon footprint. And in a world where we are always looking for ways to ‘go green’ and protect the environment, getting an energy assessment is key.
With a thermal inspection, you may find that doing some simple caulking or insulating may shave hundreds of dollars off your utility bill and reduce your carbon footprint.
Most of the area utilities offer low priced or even no cost options for audits, according to Keith. You can also click here to see the ENERGY STAR website’s tips for hiring a home energy auditor. Or you can check out some steps from the U.S. Department of Energy on a way to perform a do-it-yourself audit.
“I’d recommend paying the extra for the thermal imaging to give you all of the available information so you can make the best decision on whether or not your home is energy efficient,” says Keith. “I’d also recommend that the major appliances be thoroughly checked, including efficiency testing of the furnace.”
Keith says if that’s not part of the audit, call an HVAC pro to get that done. It’s money well spent to make sure your home is efficient and your HVAC system is too.