Wednesday, January 23, 2013

An energy audit... is it a good idea?

Photo by George Hodan

One of the things I don't like about winter is having to live in a closed up house without any fresh air. On those rare 60 + degrees days, you'll find a window or two open in my home. The crisp fresh air coming through the windows always reminds me of my mom. She believed in airing out bedrooms weekly, despite the cold temps. She also hung the bedspreads out the windows. The result was fresh-smelling beds that were a joy to climb into at night. With the below 20 degree temps of late, opening windows is not an option.

As my allergies respond to the closed up house, I've been thinking about having an energy audit done, so I've been looking into various options. Apparently, it is important to hire a certified energy audit professional and not just a home inspector or HVAC professional who offers an energy audit service, but just doesn't have the experience or equipment to accurately assess the home energy situation. 

If you're looking to hire someone to perform an energy audit, look for someone who is LEED-accredited (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BPI-certified (Building Performance Institute). Ask them what kind of equipment they will be using to determine the energy performance of your home, such as a blower door or infrared imaging tool. 

The energy audit service should be able to determine the comfort and energy efficiency issues of your home, i.e. hot and cold spots, drafts, poor air quality, air leaks, insulation, duct work, air pressure and flow, moisture levels, ventilation, and the conditions of the windows and doors. Once the sources of energy loss are determined, cost-effective solutions can be implemented. Lower energy bills and reduced energy consumption are not the only benefits incurred. You will also experience a more comfortable home. After all, improved air quality leads to fewer allergies and asthma symptoms. Ultimately, you will be reducing the chance of anyone in your family developing a potentially serious health issue that poor indoor air quality can produce.

One other potential advantage of a home energy audit is that it can reveal any hidden problems, such as impaired ventilation that can lead to mold and/or mildew growth. 

From what I can see from the various sites I researched, most people see up to a 16% return per year following their audit. That's significant. Now, I just have to find the time to look into this further and schedule something. Of course, following my mom's death last week, everything got pushed aside and now I'm scrambling to try to catch up with things. But one of these days soon, I plan to have someone out to the house to perform an audit. I'm almost afraid to find out what they discover!

What about you? Have you ever had a home energy audit? 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. However, the thoughts presented are my own.

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