In this 3-part series, Greening Your Home, you’ll learn ways to make your home more energy-efficient while also saving you money in the long run. In this first article, you’ll learn why energy audits can help you solve some of your home’s energy dilemmas. Caring about the environment and being “green” can be easier than you think as a homeowner. You can start today!
A home energy audit may sound like an unnecessary cost, but it really can save you money on energy bills and even point out any hazards such as small gas leaks.
Having your home audited could be a good idea if you’ve ever had thoughts such as these:
– Why is one particular bedroom always either too hot or too cold compared to other rooms in my house?
– Are new windows worth the money or not?
– How can I find more ways to make my home “green” and more energy efficient?
If you’ve never considered an energy audit before, then here is why it’s an excellent way to solve such energy issues in your home.
What is an Energy Audit?
Getting an energy audit or energy assessment of your home is the first step to seeing what’s going on within your home regarding energy use (or misuse). The audit will determine what parts of your home use the most energy.
You’ll need to hire a certified professional company that offers such services, and I can help you find a reputable company.
Once the assessment is completed, you can decide your next step to improve or fix issues within your home. You’ll now have more thorough information to make the right, cost-effective improvements to your home energy-wise.
Don’t forget about possible discounts from your utility company! You may be eligible for a discounted home energy audit (and any subsequent work) through your state or local utility company through a rebate or discount program.
What to Expect
During a professional energy audit, a technician will come to your home and spend a few hours doing a comprehensive inspection of the entire house to detect sources of energy loss.
And we’re talking about inspecting everything energy-related — electrical, gas, lighting, heating, and cooling!
They’ll use special tools and technology to help them identify areas of your home where there are any energy leaks or waste. You’ll get a cool thermal image of the outside of your home showing where all the air is leaking out!
The technician also will ask you about your family’s energy use, such as if anyone works from home, how many people live there, how each room is used, and what temperature you set your thermostat in the winter and summer.
Before your audit, gather at least one to two years’ worth of utility (gas and electric) bills. The technician needs to analyze these to get a sense of your baseline energy use.
You also should prepare a list of any problems you’ve detected on your own, such as drafty rooms, poor cooling distribution between rooms, not enough hot water in the shower, or condensation on a room’s wall.
You know these, right?? But write them down, so you don’t forget to tell the technician!
Here’s a general breakdown of what happens during an energy audit of your entire home.
Check for significant air leakages – Look for drafts from chimneys, bypasses, recessed lighting, outlets, HVAC ducts. Use a thermographic scan to detect thermal defects and air leakage from windows, walls, doors, and the entire house. Conduct a blower door test to help determine your overall home’s airtightness.
Check heating and cooling — Inspect insulation; test for fuel leaks in the furnace and blower; examine duct system, filters, and even dryer venting. Check the thermostat setting and insulation on the water heater tank. See what type of thermostat you use and its usual setting.
Inspect your fireplace and chimney. Assess your electrical systems – Check your appliance energy use; examine light fixtures and wiring; use a watt meter to measure energy use of other devices in your home; look for electrical hazards.
Check for moisture and water vapor in your bathrooms and kitchen – Note any water leakage; inspect your vent fans; look for condensation on walls.
Examine gas appliances and gas heating/cooling systems – Measure temperature, leaks, and any carbon dioxide in its exhaust.
After the technician’s visit, you’ll get a comprehensive energy report that will show:
· how you use energy,
· where it’s being wasted, and
· what you can do to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
The report may suggest minor energy fixes such as new CFL or LED light bulbs, caulking or weather-stripping windows, improving your lighting needs with sensors, dimmers, or timers, or upgrading to a more energy-saving dishwasher.
It also could suggest more expensive fixes such as buying an energy-efficient water heater or replacing your old windows with new energy-saving ones. It’s up to you how much you want to take on or fix at this point.
Save Energy = Save Money
.If you’re concerned about your budget and hiring professionals, remember that the upfront costs could be worth it in the end in two ways:
Rebate programs from local utility companies. Many utility companies will provide rebates for the audit and any work you get done after the audit. To get the rebate, the energy audit company will send a technician after any weatherization or upgrades are done to do a “test out” to see if the work was effective. The utility company will then send you a rebate check once this is done.
You can save 5% to 30% on your energy bill once you make any of the audit’s suggested changes to your home. Even the little things will make a dent in your lighting, cooling, or heating costs.
Let me know if you have any questions about a home energy audit or would like a recommendation!
I'm Tehane, a local realtor helping locals buy, sell, and stay local. in Honolulu Schedule a conversation, and let's talk about your current situation and where you want to be.. Then, let's create a plan to get you there. Every journey begins with the first step!
BHGRE Advantage Realty
4211 Waialae Avenue, Box 9050
Honolulu, HI. 96816