The impact of home energy audits is typically grossly underestimated. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself a couple of questions:
- What is included in a home energy audit?
- Do my rooms or my ducts have any air leaks?
- Is there potentially damaging moisture hiding in my home now?
- How efficiently is my HVAC system working?
If you don’t know the answer to even one of these questions I would recommend a home energy audit. Making the decision that you need an audit is easy. The hard part is deciding who to hire to do it. There are several factors that you should consider when choosing a contractor to perform a whole home energy audit.
Who is Qualified
you should look for a contractor or auditor who is certified as either a Building Performance Institute (BPI) building analyst or a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rater that is certified through RESNET; the nonprofit organization that does quality assurance on home energy rating providers.
These analysts may not be available in all areas but if you have one in your area that’s who you should get to perform your audit. If they are not available in your area be careful about who you hire. Ask some questions. The contractor that will perform the audit should have a lot of experience doing whole house energy audits. Ask them what they will do when they audit your home. If they are planning on doing what is on the list below and they have experience then you’re probably going to be okay.
What should your analyst do?
The first thing they should address is safety by looking at all of your appliances that use combustion to operate. They should make a thorough assessment including testing the content of exhaust gasses from your furnace and water heater.
The term building envelop is referring to areas in your home that contain conditioned air, areas that should contain freely vented outside air, and the barrier that separates them. There should be a good barrier and insulation in place between these two areas. The home energy auditor should look at the integrity of insulation, insulation levels and the barriers between the conditioned air portions of your home and the non conditioned areas. They should also make an assessment of how well the attic space is vented to outside air. Once this is assessed they should be able to identify and locate air leaks and let you know how much air is leaking. Because leaking air is equal to a hemorrhaging energy budget.
The majority home energy use is for cooling and heating in most cases. Taking a look at the efficiency of your cooling and heating systems is a big part of the audit. They should look at the efficiency of your equipment and its distribution system (I.E. your ducts.) They should be able to answer these questions after the audit.
- Is your HVAC equipment the right size for the size of your home?
- Are your ducts leaking?
- Are the installed ducts the right size and do they have proper airflow balance?
Moisture problems are the biggest problems you can have! Just a little moisture where its not supposed to be may cause your home to fail entirely. Typically moisture problems are caused by two main things. Improper air venting below your roof and drainage issues.
A written report
Once the audit is finished you should receive a written report explaining everything that was assessed and the findings. A good report should explain what is up to current code and what is not. And finally they should prioritize the improvements that you can make to increase the efficiency of your home. Making these improvements could cut your energy budget every month.
So, when you are making your decision about who to hire to perform your audit ask questions to make sure they will perform the assessment as described here.
Cities We Service:
Loyal Air Company
100 W Lucerne Cir #200
Orlando, FL 32801