An energy audit is an excellent way to understand your home's energy usage and plan for improvements to reduce your utility bills and increase interior comfort. However, the energy auditing process will vary between homes and contractors. You can often customize this service to fit your needs and budget, allowing you to evaluate your home without breaking the bank.
Energy Audits vs. Energy Surveys
While individual contractors may offer multiple options, you can broadly classify most options as surveys or audits. A survey is a less-intensive examination of your home's energy usage and, in most cases, will be the cheaper of the two options. Surveys often include walkthroughs and may involve using simple tools such as infrared cameras to check for heat loss.
Energy surveys can be helpful if you're not looking to make any substantial improvements to your home but still want to find ways to save on your utility bills. During a survey, auditors will check for low-hanging fruit, such as incorrect thermostat usage, inefficient light bulbs, and other relatively straightforward efficiency issues.
On the other hand, an audit includes a more comprehensive home check with more advanced techniques. Auditors will typically use blower door tests to look for problems with your home's envelope and test your HVAC ductwork for leakage. These tools work in combination with the same techniques you'd find in a less comprehensive survey.
Which Option Is Right For Your Home?
The best approach for your home will depend on your budget and goals. If you're looking to save some money on your utility bills without spending too much cash, a straightforward survey may be a more affordable option. While this won't highlight any significant problems with your home's envelope, this information may not be useful anyway if you aren't planning any upgrades.
However, a comprehensive audit is a better option if you intend to upgrade or improve your home to reduce heat loss, improve energy efficiency, and ultimately create a tighter building envelope. An audit will reveal problems with your ductwork, along with any draft sources near windows or doors. You may also discover issues with insulation that require attention.
Some contractors may also offer partial audits, such as conducting a blower door test without performing a ductwork leakage test. These options may be a better fit if you're looking to save some money but still want to perform a relatively thorough audit of your home. A more limited audit may also be a good fit if you're going to make specific improvements, such as adding more insulation.
Whichever option you select, an energy audit is an excellent choice for uncovering hidden inefficiencies in your home so you can save on your energy bills, prolong the life of your HVAC equipment, and create a more comfortable environment. To book a home energy efficiency audit, contact an HVAC contractor in your area.