Improve Your Home's Efficiency By Getting An Energy Audit

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As your energy bills continuously creep up over the years, you may decide to make some changes to your home to conserve energy. Getting an energy audit is a great first step to take for this because it will help you determine where your home is losing energy. While it is often through the windows, energy loss can also occur for other reasons. Here are two ways energy audits help homeowners reduce energy costs in their homes.

It Detects Leaks and Problems

The walls and roof of your home separate the inside of your house from the outside air, and the area within the walls and roof is called the building envelope. In this area, you will find insulation, which is the main instrument used to stop airflow.

Insulation is usually made of fiberglass and it always comes rated with an R-value. This value lets you know how well the insulation will stop airflow and higher R-values represent better protection. If your house is old, the insulation might not have a high rating, or it might have settled a lot, causing it to lose its ability to stop the flow of air.

Another source of energy loss is through the windows. Newer windows are built to stop heat from escaping through them, whereas older windows are often leaky and drafty. An energy audit will reveal if the windows are leaking a significant amount of air and heat.

During an energy audit, there are several other factors considered, including:

  • Vents – Every house has vents, and the vents on a house can create leaks.
  • Attic – The attic in a home is a very important place because it can either stop or allow airflow.
  • Furnace – The age of your furnace may also be a problem when it comes to energy loss. Older furnaces are less efficient than new ones.
  • Lighting – Energy audits also take the lighting in a home into consideration. If you have traditional incandescent lightbulbs, you may be spending more money than you need to.

During the inspection, an auditor will examine each of these areas and factors, and this often includes the use of an infrared camera. This is a device that detects heat loss, and is almost always used in energy audits. In addition to this, the auditor may also perform a blower door test to help find the troubled areas. After the auditor is finished inspecting each of these things, he or she will make recommendations designed to help you improve your energy efficiency in your home.

It Provides Solutions for the Problems

The energy auditor will give you a report when the inspection is complete. This report will contain a list of the problems discovered, and it will also have a list of recommendations. You will not be obligated to make the recommended improvements to your home, but making some or all of them will help you reduce the amount of money you spend on energy costs.

The recommendations on the report may include:

  • Adding additional insulation to the walls – In an existing house, insulation can often be blown into the walls. This eliminates the need to remove all the drywall to add extra insulation. Adding insulation to your attic space may also be on the list.
  • Replacing your windows – If your windows are more than 10 years old, there is a chance that they could be leaky and ready to be replaced. If you are not quite ready to spend the money on replacing the windows, you may be able to improve the efficiency by adding insulation around the windows. You may also need to caulk them afterwards
  • Updating your furnace – According to Energy Star, furnaces usually need to be replaced after 15 years, if not sooner.

There are many ways to improve the energy efficiency of a home, but it often begins by analyzing the windows and insulation. You can click here for more info, or contact a local company that offers home energy audits. 

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23 January 2015

inspecting the roof on your home

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