In a word; YES! Whether you are considering a retrofit of your old home or building a new home, a home energy audit or assessment will let you know where your home’s energy efficiency weak points are. Creating an energy-efficient building envelope will be your most effective tool against high energy bills. A home energy audit will help to show the chinks in your home’s armor and where your money can most effectively be spent in bringing it up to scratch.
Why should I have an Efficient Home Envelope?
- Ensuring that your home is sufficiently airtight has several advantages:
- You can drastically reduce your energy consumption if your conditioned hot or cold air is effectively kept inside the home. This makes your home more comfortable too.
- Moisture condensation can wreak havoc on your home when mold and mildew form. Having a tight home envelope keeps moisture out and avoids condensation problems.
- Holes in the building envelope will mean cold spots and drafts in the winter.
- Doing a home energy audit will let you know exactly how much mechanical ventilation you need to create healthy indoor air quality for your family.
- You will know where to get the most out of your retrofitting investment. On new builds, you will be able to determine whether the home performs as you had hoped and fix any issues before you move in.
What is a Home Energy Audit?
The audit is conducted by a qualified energy auditor who will start by checking for obvious leaks, gaps, cracks and holes in your home envelope.
The auditor will examine your insulation to check that it is properly installed and up to code.
An inspection of the furnace and ductwork will determine if there are any leaks and whether the furnace is the right size for your home.
A blower door test is also performed. Here a power fan is mounted to an exterior door and the air is literally blown out of the home. This creates a pressure differentiation between the inside and outside of the home. Air is sucked into the home through all the gaps in the building envelope. The rate at which the pressure is normalized will tell you how effectively airtight your home is. Auditors can also utilize smoke sticks to find the source of air leakage during this test.
Inspectors will use an infrared camera to see where warm indoor air is escaping.
Although not as thorough as a professional home energy audit, you can do one yourself to get a basic idea of where your issues lie. You can use the guide from the US Department of Energy here. Check with your local energy department to see if you can get a rebate for your home energy audit.