As the phrase would suggest, a home energy audit is an extremely detailed and thorough walkthrough of your home to identify areas of your house that are not particularly energy-efficient. (This is also sometimes known as an energy efficiency audit.) By the time the home energy audit is complete, you’ll know exactly how much energy your house is using, exactly how much energy is coming from which components of your house, and what changes you can make to become more energy efficient.
How does the home energy audit work?
Typically, a home energy audit begins from the outside and works inside. The first step for an auditor is to determine if there are any cracks or leaks that could be causing energy to be wasted. If you have an attic, the auditor will go up there to double-check your insulation and ensure it is installed correctly.
From there, the auditor will work his or her way inside your house and examine your appliances and sources of energy. These include your water heater, furnace, wiring, and pipes. The auditor is mainly tasked with taking inventory of what, exactly, you use to draw energy. But if he or she finds something is not working properly with something drawing a lot of energy- say, for example, if there’s a leak in one of your air ducts, meaning that more energy is being used than would ordinarily be required if there was not a leak- you’ve just identified one extremely easy way to reduce your energy use!
The steps and tests of a home energy audit
Professional home energy audits are as thorough as it gets. No stone is left unturned, and a professional auditor will use special types of equipment to determine exactly how energy efficient your house truly is. Among the specific tests you can expect:
- Blower door test: all the windows and doors in the house are closed, and a special fan is used to detect air leaks inside the house.
- Water heater assessment: the thermostat on your water heater is tested, as well as the draft hood.
- Combustion appliance zone testing: all fuel-fired combustible appliances inside and outside your house are examined.
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detector testing: having a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector that work properly can not only save you energy but potentially save your life, too.
- Air register vent examination: the auditor will ensure that you not only have an adequate number of air vents inside your home but that they all work properly and efficiently.
- Wiring examination: the auditor will make certain that there are no electrical hazards within your house with any protruding wires.
- Fireplace examination: if you have a fireplace, it’s critical to make sure that the ventilation in the chimney is working properly.