Energy audits search for leaks in your home and other structural or mechanical issues impacting your home’s energy efficiency.
Most home energy audits cost around $400 on average.
Energy audits can help protect you from dangerous leaks.
The best time to conduct an energy audit is in the summer or winter.
If your energy bill seems unusually high or you feel as though your HVAC system constantly runs but never quite hits that thermal sweet spot, then something might be going on with your home’s energy usage. Pinpointing your home’s weak spot(s) can feel like finding a needle in the haystack. If this scenario hits a little too close to home, it may be time for an energy audit.
What Is a Home Energy Audit?
A home energy audit is a comprehensive test conducted by a professional energy auditor to help determine your house's energy usage and loss. While you can also perform a simple walk-through test on your own, an audit can also evaluate your home’s health and safety, depending on the tests you choose to complete.
What Happens During an Energy Audit?
Energy audits typically involve a three-step process that starts with an evaluation, followed by testing and recommendations. Detailed and thorough energy audits vary depending on the level of the energy audit.
First, your auditor will walk around the outside perimeters of your home to look at visible sections of the home. This includes windows, walls, roofing, concrete, cracks, eaves, and more. The goal is to look for the most obvious issues causing leaks.
Inside the home, they’ll look at the attic, HVAC system, water heater, filter, and ducts to search for internal leaks costing you money.
2. Airtightness Test, Blower Door Test, and Other Tests
There are three levels for energy audits, and each level includes the tests found in the lower level as well as additional testing. Here’s a look at the kinds of tests you might find in your energy audit:
Blower door test: Tests for air leakage in your home, using a fan to change the pressure and pressure gauge to measure airflow
Duct test: Involves an examination of the ductwork and possibly high-tech cameras and air pressure testing to see if there are leaks in your ducts
Thermal imaging test: Add-on to blower tests that checks for specific locations within the insulation where air leaks through
Combustion safety test: Checks your furnace, vents, heat exchangers, water heaters, boilers, and more for corrosion or cracks
Carbon monoxide test: Often added to the combustion safety test to ensure the flue for heat-producing appliances is working safely
Your pro will provide you with a detailed list of issues contributing to your energy inefficiency. Reputable energy auditors are familiar with local manufacturers and companies specializing in fixing these areas. They’ll give you recommendations that point you in the right direction so that you can quickly fix any issues found.
A few recommendation examples include a list of local insulation companies who can repair or replace old insulation, the name of a roofing company to replace an outdated roof with a more energy-efficient roofing, or specific HVAC products that will help make your HVAC system run more efficiently.
What Are the Benefits of Doing an Energy Audit on Your Home?
Energy audits benefit your home in several ways that make these inspections worth your while. A few advantages to conducting an energy audit include:
A more comfortable home temperature
Reduced risk of health complications such as carbon monoxide from poorly-ventilated heating systems
Less environmental pollution by conserving energy
May reduce the use of natural resources
Better air quality and less indoor pollen
Increased HVAC system lifespan
An easier method for identifying and fixing problems in your home
It’s important to conduct a home energy audit every now and again. These tests can save you money and also save your life if you have a dangerous carbon monoxide leak. An energy audit also helps conserve energy by identifying air leaks that cause your HVAC system to work overtime.
Who Can Conduct Your Home’s Energy Audit?
Though you can walk around your house and conduct a simplified energy audit yourself, you’ll want to hire a local energy auditor pro to conduct whole-home testing for a comprehensive energy audit. Professional energy assessors have all the tools and the experience to quickly and accurately identify issues and provide the best solutions for having an energy-efficient home.
In some cases, your local or state government or energy utility company can conduct residential assessments. Still, in other cases, you’ll want to find a professional with credentials like the Home Energy Professional (HEP) Energy Auditor certification issued by the Building Performance Institute (BPI). This reputable company is accredited by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
When Is the Best Time of Year to Receive a Home Energy Audit?
You can audit year-round, but the best time to conduct a home energy audit is when there are significant temperature differences. Both summer and winter are fair game because both heat loss and heat gain can be detected by a trained professional more easily than in mild climates inside and outside the home.
Many homeowners conduct tests in the summer when it’s hot and uncomfortable. This means you can take advantage of less competition and maybe even lower prices on the energy audit by booking an audit during the winter.
How Much Does a Home Energy Audit Cost?
Most home energy audits cost approximately $400 on average, though your home’s size and the kind of tests you want can impact the price of your energy audit. Some homeowners pay just $100 for a simple duct test, while others pay closer to $900 for intensive testing on a larger home.