Taxes done? Congrats! Here’s another item for your to-do list before the Texas heat starts blasting down on us full force. April is the perfect month for a home energy audit! Do you really want to wait till August to start thinking about putting insulation in your attic?
Why Hire a Pro?
An unsealed house is kind of like a leaky air mattress – no matter how much air you pump into it, it keeps rushing out the holes. We’ve got some terrific energy-saving tips that can help you detect and correct energy leaks all over the house, and chances are that you can do many of the fixes yourself. But the pros have the tools and expertise to find lots more than your typical DYI-er can. Two or three hours with a professional energy auditor can save you thousands and thousands of dollars in the years ahead. And if you’re buying a house, an energy audit is an essential pre-purchase step.
Inspection Lite or a Full Physical?
Energy assessments tend to fall into two categories:
- A home energy survey is a walk-through visual inspection without diagnostic tools. Inspectors will examine your windows, doors, ductwork, insulation, HVAC systems, appliances and lighting. They’ll study your electric bills and ask you about your comfort levels. Your final report should include recommendations for action, including tasks you can take care of yourself.
- For a more detailed picture of your home’s energy usage, you’ll need a full building audit. This is where it gets high-tech! Inspectors pinpoint and measure air leaks with diagnostic tools like blower doors that suck the air out of your house and measure the air pressure, infrared thermographic scanners, duct leakage testers and combustion analyzers. You’ll get a software analysis and detailed reports that tell you how much air your HVAC is leaking, how effective your wall and attic insulation is, and what specific steps you can take to stop wasting energy.
How to Get the Most From Your Home Energy Audit
- Hire a certified energy auditor. Before you hire someone, ask to see a sample report. You want a clear to-do list that’s easy to understand and easy to follow.
- Have all your energy bills ready for inspection. Do you have a smart meter? That makes it easy to create usage reports by time of day, week or year.
- Make a list beforehand of your comfort issues, questions and top concerns.
Have you thought about having a professional energy audit? What energy efficiency improvements have you been able to take care of yourself? Tell us about it in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe to The Current for more energy saving tips.