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Your utility bill may be shocking, but it offers few helpful details: it doesn't tell you when your energy use peaks, doesn't explain how best to reduce power consumption, and doesn't tell you how your home is spending your money.
We think it's worth finding out. A home energy audit is one of the first steps to understanding your home's energy usage, as well its overall health and performance. Using a combination of high tech tests and common sense evaluations, a good auditor provides homeowners with a list of energy and money saving steps, explains how and why your house is costing you money, then prioritizes steps to take to knock down those costs over the long haul.
A typical audit is comprised of several steps:
- A thorough visual inspection of the home's building envelope.
- An insulation check, generally involving infrared thermography, to pinpoint spots where insulation may have settled, been improperly installed, or where it may be missing altogether.
- An air leakage test using a blower door, to measure the cumulative effect of all the air leaks in the home.
- A ventilation check: healthy houses have appropriate ventilation, and an auditor will evaluate ventilation systems to determine if they conform to safety standards.
- All visible gas lines, the gas stove, and gas powered water heater will be examined to check for any evidence of leaks.
- The auditor will test any atmospheric combustion central heating and hot water heater for backdrafting and other possible safety issues, and may recommend cleaning or a tune-up.
- Finally, the auditor may make recommendations regarding replacing inefficient lighting or appliances.
We believe that whole house energy audits by certified professionals are worth every penny, so long as you act on what the audit turns up.
Last off, bear in mind that what turns up might surprise you: homeowners are often shocked to discover that all the little air leaks throughout their house add up to the equivalent of a window (or two, or more) being left open year round! Just remember that what you don't know can cost you: it's better to know!
What is Home Performance?
When you buy a car, you expect good gas mileage with low upkeep, safe handling, and comfort inside. In other words, respectable performance. Why would you have any other expectations for a house? The ability of your home to deliver comfort, health, and affordability is what a Home Performance Assessment is all about. Is the home functioning at its optimum? Or are there deficiencies and inefficiencies? An assessment can often determine which cost effective items can improve the performance of your home most!
Are you new to Home Ownership?
Make sure you look at the suggestions on my Renovations page; more useful information on my Real Estate Pages; and an excellent read on the Building Science Corporation's website: The Building Science Guide to Home Ownership! See my LINKS page for more.
Of course, feel free to call (718.941.3725) or email me with questions and concerns!