Originally Published: 11/02/09
Is your home eating you out of house and, umm, home? It's time to find out with an energy audit.
Forty-percent of the average American's carbon emissions come from their homes; that means that we're using (and most likely losing) a whole lot of energy in our homes — and of course, we're paying for all of that energy. Don't get too discouraged. With a few changes, you can cut your energy consumption and your utility bills. You just have to know where to start.
Step 1? Get an energy audit.
An energy audit is an inspection of your home's energy efficiency. The results of the audit will expose your home's leaky windows, un-insulated walls and other problem areas. Then, it's up to you. By fixing the leaks and adding a little more insulation, you can put your house on a diet. Really, it's that easy.
While you can do a basic energy audit yourself — simply close all the doors and windows and feel for leaks — we recommend hiring a professional energy auditor to examine the flow of energy throughout your home. A professional auditor will do things like a blower door test and a thermographic scan. The blower door test uses a very large fan to determine the air tightness of your house. While the blower door test is running, the auditor will use an infrared camera to detect areas of heat loss such as leaks, areas without insulation, and areas where insulation is wet. After your audit, you should receive a full report from your auditor that details the findings and recommends specific ways to improve your home's energy-efficiency.
Finding a professional auditor is easy, thanks to the magic of the internet. You'll find a slew of auditors just by searching "energy auditor" and the name of your state, but you want to make sure you get a good one. So, just as you would if you were looking for a car mechanic or a hair stylist, ask your friends for recommendations. Look for a Home Performance with Energy Star partner or an auditor who is state-certified.
The cost of a home energy audit will vary based on where you live, the size of your house, and how many tests you'd like done. In general, you can expect to pay somewhere between $300 and $700 for an audit, but it could save you thousands of dollars long-term. In some states, getting an energy audit with a state-certified auditor is required to qualify for energy efficiency home loans.
Do you have any tips to improving home energy efficiency? Share below!
Live Green and Earn Points
Home & Garden
It’s (Energy) Audit Time
Written by Kelsey Abbott . Mar 30, 2011
How much energy does your home consume? Not the gadgets in your home — we're talking the walls, doors, and windows. Here's a great way to determine your home’s carbon emissions, and how to curb them.