Today’s article is the first of a three-part series on making your home more energy efficient. Making your home greener can save you tons of money in the long run. With energy-efficient appliances, green practices, and state incentives, you can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars annually. Every homeowner in Northern Colorado can find a reason to make these upgrades. In our first article of the series, I’ll explain the importance of energy audits in solving many of your home’s energy dilemmas.
What is an Energy Audit?
An energy audit, otherwise known as a home energy assessment, is an inspection survey and analysis of your home’s energy use. The inspection pinpoints trouble areas in your home that may be wasting energy.
A professional home energy assessment provides a complete analysis of your home’s energy use. A professional will analyze each room in your house and other equipment you use, such as carbon monoxide detectors, moisture meters, security cameras, etc. You’ll get a full report of energy waste in your home.
Before your audit, gather at least one to two years’ worth of utility 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 heating distribution between rooms, not enough hot water in the shower, or condensation on a room’s wall.
What to Expect
Here’s a general breakdown of what will happen during an energy audit of your home. Every homeowner in Northern Colorado should expect an energy auditor to:
- Check for significant air leakages— Look for drafts from chimneys, bypasses, recessed lighting, outlets, and HVAC ducts. Use a thermographic scan to detect thermal defects and air leakage from windows, walls, and doors. Conduct a blower door test to help determine your home’s overall air tightness.
- Check heating and cooling— Inspect insulation; test for fuel leaks in the furnace and its blower; examine duct systems, filters, and even dryer venting. Check thermostat settings and the insulation on your home’s water heater tank. 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 the 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, and look for condensation on walls.
- Examine gas-run appliances and systems— Measure temperatures, leaks, and any carbon dioxide in the exhaust.
After the Inspection
Once a professional has completed the assessment, you’ll get a comprehensive energy report. This report will show the following:
- How your home uses energy
- Where energy is wasted
- What you can do to improve your home’s energy efficiency
The report may suggest minor energy fixes. These may include replacing light bulbs with CFL or LED lights; caulking or weather stripping windows; improving your lighting needs, 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. Don’t be overwhelmed. It’s up to you to decide where you want to start. Every fix you make sets you on the right track to making your home greener.
Can I Afford to do an Energy Audit?
Almost every homeowner in Northern Colorado can afford to do an energy audit. State assistance, discounts from your utility company, and local rebate programs incentivize homeowners to work toward energy efficiency at little or no cost to the homeowner. Additionally, the money you save over time will make upgrades to your home well worth it. You can save 5% to 30% on your energy bill once you make the audit’s suggested changes to your home!
In a state so committed to going green, you can’t afford NOT to upgrade to an energy-efficient home. Let me know if you have any questions about getting a home energy audit or would like a recommendation for a trusted professional near you.
I'm Lauren Haug! I'm a teacher-turned-real estate agent, and I teach people how to build wealth through real estate in Northern Colorado.
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Loveland, CO 80537
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