What’s Involved in a Home Energy Audit?

Jun 5, 2015

Home Energy Audit

If your household energy bills are too high and you’re looking for ways to improve efficiency, scheduling a home energy audit can help. During an audit, an expertly-trained technician takes an in-depth look at your home to evaluate efficiency and identify energy losses and waste. Learning what’s involved in the process can help you understand the benefits of a home energy audit.

Information Gathering

Before the detailed examination of your home begins, the auditor will look over your utility bills for the past year to determine your base energy consumption. You’ll be asked questions about typical household usage habits, the home’s occupancy and usual thermostat settings, as well as any specific energy efficiency concerns you may have. The auditor will also explain the process and may even ask if you want to follow along to ask questions or point out any areas of concern.

Exterior Inspection

The energy auditor will perform a thorough visual inspection of the home’s exterior to identify any potential sources of air leaks and energy losses. The technician will also look at the roof, siding, window and door frames, weatherstripping, perimeter of the foundation and any penetrations through the shell where utility lines pass through.

Interior Inspection

To properly assess your home’s efficiency, the auditor will complete a detailed visual inspection of every part of the home, including the basement, crawl space, attic, and all rooms and closets. The attic and wall insulation levels and framing type are noted. The tech will also check for air leaks around exterior wall outlets, fixtures, doors and windows, as well as keep an eye out for evidence of condensation.

The electrical wiring, air conditioner, thermostat, exhaust fans and light fixtures are also inspected, along with the HVAC system’s ductwork. The functionality of the home’s smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors may be tested as well.

In addition to looking for problem areas that impact energy efficiency, the auditor may also check for issues that can affect your family’s safety and health, like electrical deficiencies, lead-based paint, excess moisture and air quality problems.

Specialized Testing

During the audit, specialized tools and testing methods are used to pinpoint specific trouble spots. Three of the essential tools used by an energy auditor are a blower door test, thermographic inspection and combustion appliance zone test.

  • During a blower door test, a frame with a built-in high-powered fan is placed in an exterior doorway. When it’s started, it pulls air out of the interior of the home. The resulting drop in pressure forces air to enter through any leaks in the shell. A smoke generator or pressure pan is then used to locate leakage points.
  • A thermographic inspection locates areas of heat loss within the structure. It’s uses still and infrared video cameras to detect surface temperature variations in the home’s envelope. The results tell the auditor where insulation is lacking or ineffective. It’s often performed while the blower door is running to help identify air leaks through the shell.
  • The combustion appliance zone test ensures all fuel-burning devices in the home are operating safely and efficiently. A combustion analysis is performed on the furnace, gas water heater and kitchen range to measure carbon monoxide (CO) levels, flue gas draft and efficiency. The fireplace, venting system and gas lines are also checked to identify hazardous back-drafting and fuel leaks.

Detailed Report on Findings

After the audit process is complete, the technician analyzes all the information and test results to create a report detailing the efficiency and safety concerns you need to address. This comprehensive summary can help you prioritize improvements around your home to increase energy savings, comfort and safety.

Preparing for a Home Energy Audit

Once you’ve decided to schedule an energy audit, you’ll maximize the benefits of this in-depth home inspection by putting together a checklist to discuss with your technician. Compile the past 12 months of utility bills, write down on any specific energy-related concerns and note issues with drafts or hot spots, mold growth or excessive humidity and dryness.

To learn more about a home energy audit from JD’s A/C, or for other home comfort concerns, give us a call at (903) 759-7483. We’re proud to serve Longview homeowners!

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