How can an energy audit help make my home more efficient?

How can an energy audit help make my home more efficient?

Many people have heard the words “energy audit,” but some may not really know what it is or why they would need one. Here is a general explanation of an energy audit and why you may want to get one scheduled.

If you have any of the following issues in your home, you probably need an energy audit, and an energy auditor should be the first person you call.

• High utility bills in comparison to size of home
• Temperature differences from room to room
• High humidity or moisture appearing on windows, especially in winter
• Wondering if you may need a new furnace, new windows for energy savings, or need insulation in your attic.

An energy audit or assessment brings in an expert that can tell you the source of many issues in your home before either you or a contractor guesses and tries to solve a symptom and not the problem. 

The auditor or home performance assessor will use tools called a blower door, infrared camera for thermal photography, smoke pencil and other tools to determine what is the cause of issues that you are experiencing and the best way to resolve them. 

Many people think that their walls are not insulated when it is really windows that are leaking or not sealed properly. Many people think they need new windows because they are leaking but it is specifically areas around the window that are leaking that can be improved by simple caulking, thus saving the expense of buying new windows. 

Some people think they need insulation in their attic, which they may, but more importantly they should know about areas that are connected between the attic and their conditioned living space that need to be air sealed prior to insulation being added. 

In short, there are many issues that could be causing problems with your home. By dealing with the one symptom instead of solving the larger problem, you could be making the condition worse, or at least not fixing the main problem. 

In these instances, it may be beneficial to have someone look at your house as a whole and how all systems are working together to determine what the exact source of the problem is and the best way to fix it. 

For a few hundred dollars spent on an analysis of your entire home, you could be saving thousands of dollars and actually getting the correct answers on how to fix the main problem. For this reason, an energy audit may be the best way to determine the proper path to fixing issues in your home. 

One other thing to keep in mind when contacting an energy auditor is to make sure you know whom you are talking to and if they have some other agenda. Make sure you check credentials and go with referrals when making your hiring decision.

About this Angie’s List Expert: Dan Martens is the owner of Pro Energy Consultants, providing energy auditing services in St. Paul, Minn. Since 2010, Pro Energy Consultants has specialized in home energy auditing and consultations, blower door testing, infrared cameras and more. You can follow this #ALExperts contributor on Twitter @ProEnergyNews.

As of February 4, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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