What would you say If someone asked you, "What part of your home is costing you the most money on your energy bill?"
If you're like most people, the answer is probably, "I have no idea!"
What you do know is that rather than paying high electricity bills, you'd like to have more to spend on the things in life you truly enjoy. But reducing your home's energy use – and your bill along with it – can be trickier than it seems at first blush. How do you know where to even get started?
This is where you should call for backup in the form of a home energy auditor. When you get a home energy audit, a trained technician will come to your home and examine it from top to bottom for anything that is causing you to use more energy than you should be. After the examination, the auditor will be able to suggest specific ways in which you can upgrade the areas of your home that are causing you to spend more for power.
An investment that helps you save money and live healthier
Some people are put off by the fact that they have to pay a few hundred dollars to get an energy audit, but this is the wrong mindset to have. You should go into an energy audit with the same mindset as you would when deciding on whether or not solar power for your home is a good choice: Look at it as an investment.
"The investment you make in an energy audit now can pay off in more ways than just improving your own bottom line."
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners who get an audit and implement the changes the auditor suggests can save anywhere from five to 30 percent on their energy bills. When you consider that, according to Home Advisor, a home energy audit costs an average of $689 – $987, it's clear the savings you get on your lower energy bills will help you make that money back and then some in a relatively short amount of time.
And in this case, the investment you make in an energy audit now can pay off in more ways than just improving your own bottom line. Sure, you'll save money once you make the upgrades the auditor recommends, but even more important is that you could be improving the health of everyone who lives in your home.
As the New Jersey Clean Energy Program explained, a home energy auditor will check your home for high levels of carbon monoxide, moisture, mold and other more general air quality issues that could be causing respiratory and other health problems for you and your family. Additionally, the auditor will look for safety issues like exposed wiring, clogged vents and others that could lead to electrical or ventilation problems. Clearing your home of these hazards can prevent a major illness, injury or property damage.
What happens during an audit?
So what can you expect to happen during your home energy audit?
According to the DOE, the process starts by sitting down with the auditor and going over your energy bills from the past year or so. This will help the auditor get a baseline measurement of your consumption totals, so he or she will be able to show you exactly how much you can save later. The auditor will also ask you about any problems or concerns you've noticed, so he or she can give those issues extra attention if it is needed.
From there, the auditor will conduct a thorough inspection of your home's interior and exterior.
Here is a list of just a few of the things he or she will look for during the audit:
- Potential health and safety issues (air quality, broken/damaged electrical equipment).
- Insulation and sealing in walls and around doors and windows.
- Light fixtures and wiring.
- The type of thermostat you use.
- HVAC equipment (fuel leaks, furnace filter checks, combustion fuel fired appliances, etc).
- Ventilation and fans.
Once the inspection is complete, the auditor will analyze the findings and generate a customized report that will tell you exactly where your home could use an upgrade that will make it more energy efficient.
With this knowledge, there will be no more guessing about where you're losing money on your energy bills – the audit will tell you all you need to know, and from there, you'll be on your way to saving energy and money.