Did you know that the average American homeowner spends more than $2,000 every year on energy bills? While that number can vary considerably depending on the source of power you use (it is, after all, an average), it’s still always a good idea to use less rather than more energy. The million-dollar (or at least several-thousand-dollar) question is: how do you do that?
Tips and tricks abound for cutting back on energy use and improving energy efficiency around the home (we’ve posted a few of them ourselves), but the key is to do it strategically and in a way that offers the greatest efficiency ROI. The smartest way to come up with an overall plan is to invest in a home energy audit.
A home energy audit is a holistic assessment of your home that considers all the factors that impact how well your home uses energy for its many tasks. A professional home energy audit can take anywhere from one to four hours to complete, depending on the size and complexity of your home.
Typically, an energy auditor will use a range of tools to perform a detailed analysis of your home and discover where it is losing energy. Once the audit is complete, the auditor proposes specific measures to reduce your bills.
A typical audit could include the following components:
Most professional audits will also include a blower door test to identify air leaks in the home. During a blower door test, a blower door machine is attached to an opening of your home (usually the front door); all remaining exterior doors and windows are closed. The blower machine then depressurizes the home, creating a vacuum. At that point, the auditor uses an infrared camera to spot cold air leaks.
Finally, most audits include a lighting inspection to identify opportunities to replace energy-gulping incandescent light bulbs with LEDs.
Other assessments may be taken as needed, depending on the characteristics of your home.
Energy audit service costs vary considerably, so a little digging around could pay off handsomely. Some energy nonprofits or governmental organizations offer discounted, single-fee audits that include installing energy-efficiency measures such as LED lights or even appliance replacement, depending on your financial need. Be sure to do your research!
The bottom line: even with its upfront costs, an energy audit usually more than pays for itself in the long run as you continue to accumulate savings on your energy bills month after month.
If you’re paying too much for your energy bills, the time to invest in an energy audit is…well, now! The sooner you make updates, the sooner you’ll start saving money. This is especially true during periods of extreme temperature—that is, during the winter and summer.
If you’re curious about home energy audits and want to find a qualified technician to perform one, a good place to start is with the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET)—a nonprofit organization that certifies Home Energy Raters (HERs) from coast to coast. You can learn more about RESNET—or search their online directory of HERs—here.
Want another way to save money this winter? Switch your electricity or natural gas plan to Discount Power. Contact us today to learn more—or to choose and enroll in a smart, affordable energy plan!