Why Get an Audit?
Energy auditors perform diagnostic tests to recommend methods of improving energy efficiency and lowering utility expenses. However, efficiency is not the only reason to consider such a service. Rooms that are too hot or cold or that have poor air quality could benefit from an analysis by an energy auditor. An audit can also improve your family’s health because chronic sinus infections or nasal problems can be caused by indoor dust pollution. Auditors can determine fresh air exchange rates to the outside and identify sources of indoor air pollutants or high humidity.
What to Expect
Before your auditor arrives, make a list of any heating or moisture issues as well as other problems that could be related to energy leakage, and note where they occur; you and the auditor can refer to this list during the inspection. The auditor will first analyze your home from the outside to assess its size and identify points where energy could escape, such as windows or doors. Then, the auditor will perform an interior inspection and ask questions about usual room occupancy and thermostat settings to determine how your family’s behavior could affect the home’s energy consumption. A home energy audit should include infrared thermal imaging, a blower door test, a ductwork leakage test, surface thermometer tests, and combustion safety testing on gas appliances and furnaces to locate sources and causes of energy loss in your home. Using a company that only performs audits, as opposed to offering the recommended work, may help protect you against a biased audit.
Existing homes. Auditors can detect under-insulated areas and identify where heat is lost and gained. They can also find common areas of energy leakage and make recommendations for ENERGY STAR-compliant replacements of poorly sealed windows and fixtures. Your auditor should provide a prioritized list of improvements in a logical, cost-effective order.
New construction. Some states require thorough, specialized energy efficiency testing for residential buildings. Before building an addition or planning a remodel, check local building regulations, and make sure that your home improvement project will include any mandatory tests and that your materials and processes are all up to code.
Federal tax credits are available on solar electric and solar water heating systems installed before December 31, 2021. Other tax rebate incentives for energy-efficient equipment or appliances vary between states, so if an auditor recommends upgrading your equipment to a more efficient model, find out which incentives and rebates exist in your state to inform your decision. Your energy auditor can provide you with the necessary documentation for the rebate.