What to expect when getting a home energy audit

Author: Kent Keith | Find Us on Google+

Almost every call I receive for a home energy audit comes from someone that has just received their electric bill in the mail and are shocked at it’s size. Rarely people are concerned about energy savings when their bills are low which are during the spring and fall months. Summer usually instigates more calls than any other time. The client is in a panic and wants to know what they can do to lower their energy bills immediately. Unfortunately, there is usually no magic bullet when it comes to home energy savings, but the good news is that there are things that can be done to lower your bills that an energy audit can address.

One thing to keep in mind is that it takes many small improvements to make an impact. Also keep in mind that the older a house is, the need for an audit is greater since house built long ago were not built for efficiency as they are today. I get calls from people for an energy inspection where the house is only a couple of years old and I tell them upfront that the audit may not benefit them at all since the house should already have everything in place for energy efficiency.

Here are some basics that should be covered by a home energy audit.

* The inspection and reporting of all energy aspects of the house such as the insulation levels and ventilation of the attic, the condition and types of the windows, the age and performance of the air conditioning and heating systems, and the efficiency ratings of the water heater and appliances.
* The audit report should also be generated with a software program that will calculate the ROI…..Return On Investment. This will let you know where you should spend your dollars for improvement and bang for the buck. Or in other words, if you are planning on staying in you home 5 – 10 years and if the energy savings on upgrading all the windows takes 15 years to break even on the investment, that may not be a wise decision to make.
* There should be a blower door / air duct test performed on the house. A blower door is a high velocity fan mounted in a covered frame that is inserted in an exterior door opening. The fan pressurizes or de-pressurizes the house to determine how “leaky” the house is and the audit technician can determine where the air leaks are located so sealing can be performed.
* Finally, the audit should give you suggestions on improvements as well as a break down cost analysis of such improvements.

Fort Worth Home Inspector