House Vitality Audit Fundamentals | Earth 911

Perhaps you noticed an insert in your energy bill or received a flyer from your utility company offering discounts or rebates for a household energy audit. The benefit of upgrading to a newer, more efficient water heater or stove is easy to see. But why would anyone want to pay to be audited? Once you read this introduction to the basics of energy auditing, energy at home will never remind you of the IRS again.

What is a Home Energy Audit?

When audited by the IRS, they look for things you did wrong and any mistakes they find will definitely cost you money. A home energy audit will help you find the most effective ways to get better results, and any improvements they find will likely save you money. House energy audits, also known as house energy assessments, provide a comprehensive overview of the energy consumption of your home. A thorough check includes a fan door test and a thermographic scan. Every room in the house is examined and past utility bills are reviewed. Audits provide a home energy score on a scale of one to ten, but they also provide detailed analysis to help you understand where all of that energy is going.

Thermography – or infrared scan – detects building air leaks. Photo: Adobe Stock

Why have a Home Energy Audit carried out?

Everyone knows that insulation, double-glazed windows, and a good stove all add to the energy performance of a home. An audit will maximize your return on investment by telling you which of these things will have the greatest impact on your specific home. Knowing where your own energy usage is most inefficient can help you prioritize home improvement. Depending on the age and size of your home and the types of heating and cooling you use, you can save anywhere from 5 to 30 percent on your electricity bill by following the recommendations in your home energy audit.

Home Energy Audit Infographic

Image: Energy.gov

How do I get a Home Energy Audit?

Start with your provider. Many utility companies offer customers free or discounted audits, or at least offer a list of recommended providers. Your utility company may also offer discounts or low-cost financing to implement many of the efficiency improvements recommended by your auditor. Even if they don’t offer direct incentives, they should be able to refer you to a government program.

If your utility company doesn’t provide audits or recommendations, you can find a professional auditor from the Building Performance Institute or the Residential Energy Services Network.

Even with discounts, a home energy audit can cost hundreds of dollars. If this is not on your budget, you can do your own DIY audit. You may not have access to blower door tests or thermographic scans, but you can determine some efficiency benefits yourself. Without the upfront cost of the exam, you may have the resources to make some of the improvements right away.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on January 24, 2019.

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