Fall is a transitional time of year, as temperatures begin to drop and the days become shorter. It’s also the perfect time of year to prepare your Savannah home for heating season by performing a home energy audit. The benefits are clear: increased comfort, reduced energy usage and lower utility bills. Read on to find out more.
What is a Home Energy Audit?
Sometimes called an energy assessment or evaluation, this type of audit is an optional service for homeowners looking to learn where and how they can reduce energy and water usage, reduce their carbon footprint and save money, all by making changes around their home.
While it is possible to perform a modified version of a home audit yourself, professional auditors have an array of handy and unique tools at their disposal and can provide a more in-depth and detailed report, such as:
- Blower door – This diagnostic tool is placed in an exterior doorway, sealing it tight. The fan component depressurizes the home by drawing air outwards, while the attached manometer provides a reading to the auditor.
- Bubbles – Simple soap bubbles are used to verify fuel leakage in combustible equipment. With the fuel supply on, a soapy solution is applied to the area in question; if bubbles form along the surface a leak is confirmed.
- Combustion analyzer – This handy tool can measure the temperature of flue gases, leakage and CO levels.
- Digital and infrared cameras – Digital images can help to document the audit and the camera may provide information not available to the naked eye. Infrared imaging can help read temperature variances, helpful in determining insulation levels, and also pinpoint air leaks.
- Digital probe thermometer – Used to measure the temperature of heating equipment and operating fans.
- Draft gauge – Used to measure chimney drafts.
- Inspection mirror – A specialized swiveling mirror used for viewing tight spaces.
- Manometer – Used in conjunction with the blower door, this meter helps to measure the difference in pressure to gauge how airtight your home is.
- Moisture meter – This tool is able to detect moisture levels in building materials.
- Smoke producing instrument – By emitting a thin stream of smoke, the auditor is able to find air leaks in the thermal envelope and ductwork.
- Tape measure – Useful for measuring and recording the footprint of the home.
- Watt meter – Measures the energy output of various appliances in the home.
What to Expect
The home energy audit itself should take several hours and include the following steps:
- Communicating with the homeowner to help determine any particular areas of concern
- Outlining the process
- Analyzing the previous year’s energy bills
- Exterior inspection
- Health and safety inspection
- Visual inspection of the interior
- Assessment of the electrical system
- Inspection of combustible appliances
- Blower door test
- Creation of the audit report based on an in-depth analysis of the findings
What Does the Auditor Look For?
Here is a room by room guide as well as a general overview of areas of interest to the energy auditor.
Kitchen and Bath
- Check for risk factors such as electrical hazards
- Determine energy usage of appliances
- Assess the rate of airflow from exhaust fans
- Look for signs of excessive humidity or water damage
- Inspect the furnace and check for fuel leaks
- Clean the furnace blower and change the filter
- Examine the water heater, taking note of the temperature setting, piping and insulation levels
- Visually inspect ductwork and dryer venting
- Carry out testing on combustible appliances
- Search for signs of water leaks or damage
- Perform a safety check of all visible wiring
- Inspect insulation
- Check for areas of excessive air leakage
- Inspect all doors, windows and outlets for air leaks and look for condensation around windows
- Gather details of the thermostat including settings and type
- Inspect recessed and other lighting fixtures
- Detail the location and type of smoke and CO detectors, testing each one
- Examine the indoor air quality
- Check the insulation levels in walls and note the type of framing
- Inspect the fireplace
Learn where your energy dollars are being spent and how to make improvements, with a home energy audit. Making those changes identified in your audit report can help you save between 5 and 30 percent on your energy bills, increase your family’s safety and comfort and increase your overall awareness of how your home functions.
A home energy audit can help you prioritize upgrades in your home and capitalize on your savings. For the best selection, service and installation of energy efficient HVAC equipment in the Savannah area, call the experts at Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning.