Home Energy Audits FAQs
Many homeowners are plagued by high energy costs and uncomfortable living environments. Energy audits can effectively address these problems and provide homeowners with cost-effective solutions.
Energy audits are also known as energy assessments, and are detailed examinations of a home to determine:
- Where and how energy is being lost.
- Those systems in the home that are operating inefficiently.
- The types of cost-effective measures that can be put in place to make the home more comfortable, affordable and energy efficient.
There are two types of energy audits:
Home Energy Survey
A home energy survey is a visual inspection that doesn’t include the use of diagnostic testing equipment. Its purpose is to assess the general energy performance of an existing home including:
- Building envelope features (windows, doors, insulation, ducts) and ages.
- Heating, cooling and ventilation equipment types, characteristics and ages.
- Appliance and lighting characteristics.
- Comfort complaints.
- Visible moisture issues.
- Visible health and safety issues.
A RESNET Home Energy Survey Professional (HESP) will request a review of utility use and billing history to better understand potential opportunities for savings. A report of the complete assessment is provided, including basic recommendations for improving the home’s energy efficiency, as well as low-cost, do-it-yourself tasks. Also included is information on relevant utility-based programs to encourage the homeowner to take action. A home energy survey takes approximately one hour to complete.
General Energy Audit
A general energy audit is also known as an energy assessment, standard energy audit or detailed energy audit. It expands on the home energy survey by collecting more detailed information regarding the home’s energy usage, as well as a more thorough financial analysis of its energy costs.
The general energy audit also includes diagnostic testing using specialized equipment such as a blower door test, duct leakage tester, combustion analyzer and infrared camera. These tests are done to determine:
- The location and number of air leaks in the building envelope.
- How much leakage is occurring from HVAC distribution ducts.
- How effective is the insulation inside walls and ceilings.
- Any existing or potential combustion safety issues.
A home energy auditor such as a certified RESNET Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Rater will conduct a whole-house evaluation including a computer software analysis to identify and prioritize proposed treatments for improvement. This is followed by a detailed report providing suitable retrofit recommendations and specifications. The Home Energy Auditor can recommend suitable RESNET Qualified EnergySmart Contractors to the homeowner that can perform the work. A general energy audit takes 3-4 hours depending on the size of your home.
Depending on the type of energy audit you get, prices can range from $300 to $800.
Among the major benefits of doing an energy audit are:
- Lower energy bills
- Improved home comfort
- Increased home resale value
- Lower environmental impact
- Revealing hidden problems in the home