Did your heating bills seem extra high this winter? Are you concerned about the effectiveness of your current air conditioning system? Do you regularly feel drafts or suspect there may be leaks that allow your home’s heated or cooled air to escape? An energy audit can help address these questions and more with a careful evaluation of your home’s structure and HVAC systems. A technician can then help you implement solutions that will increase energy efficiency and dramatically reduce heating and cooling costs. Here are the answers to common energy audit FAQs:
What is the Main Goal?
The main goal of energy audits is to increase the energy efficiency of your home. The United States Department of Energy recommends audits for many reasons, including to reduce your heating and cooling costs and to help protect the environment by reducing your overall energy consumption. Most homes produce more air pollution than a standard car, which can contribute to smog and global warming. By reducing your home’s energy consumption, you can help improve the air quality right here in your New Jersey area.
Who Performs Energy Audits?
Although you can evaluate some aspects of your home’s energy efficiency yourself, it is best to hire a thorough, knowledgeable, and trained energy auditor. Many full-service heating and cooling companies offer energy audits, as they are vitally important to improving the effectiveness of your HVAC system.
What Happens First?
Energy audits do not begin with a walk-through. Instead, your auditor will want to see fuel bills from the past year and will ask you about any problems you have noticed. They will also explain the audit process to you in detail so that you know exactly what to expect.
What Happens During the Walk-Through?
Energy audit FAQs always include this question, because the process can be quite involved. During the energy audit, your auditor will conduct both interior and exterior inspections, looking for visual signs of structural damage or potential air leakage. Two of the most common tools used to identify air leaks are infrared cameras and something called a blower door test. Infrared imaging shows temperature variations within your home, which can be a clear indicator of air leaks. The blower door test involves using a special fan to depressurize a home and locate air leaks. Air leaks are the primary cause of energy loss, so auditors will pay close attention to windows, doors, and outlets.
Your auditor will also inspect any electrical systems as well as fuel-burning combustion appliances. This includes potential electrical hazards in the kitchen as well as water heater insulation. Other aspects or areas your auditor will address include:
• Attic insulation
• Wall insulation and framing
• Thermostat type and settings
• Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
• Lighting fixtures
• Location and number of air vents or registers
What Happens Next?
As you can see, energy audits are extremely thorough. After the audit, your specialist will assess his or her findings and provide a comprehensive home energy report. Review your report with HVAC specialists and see what improvements you can make to increase your home’s overall energy efficiency.