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Home Energy Audits: How They Work and Why They Are Smart Investment

Home much energy does your home use? According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average home uses about 10,649 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. If you discover that your home is consuming more than this, you should consider a home energy audit. This comprehensive inspection and analysis process will often reveal ways to make your home more energy efficient.

What Is a Home Energy Audit?

Also known as a home energy evaluation or assessment, a home energy audit is exactly what it sounds like: It’s an audit of your home’s energy usage. It involves an analysis of how much energy your home uses, which devices and systems are consuming the most energy, and where your home is losing the most energy.

DIY vs Professional Home Energy Audits

There are do-it-yourself (DIY) home energy audits as well as professional home energy audits. DIY home energy audits are those that you can perform yourself, whereas professional home energy audits are those performed by companies. Heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) companies, for instance, often offer professional home energy audits.

DIY home energy audits, not surprisingly, are more basic than their professional counterparts. You don’t need any special tools or equipment to perform a DIY home energy audit. You can simply go from room to room while analyzing your home’s energy usage. If you spot an air leak, for instance, you can seal it so that thermal energy doesn’t escape your home. If your home uses incandescent light bulbs, on the other hand, you can replace them with energy-efficient bulbs like light-emitting diode (LED).

Benefits of a Professional Home Energy Audit

While it requires the services of a company, a professional home energy audit is typically a smart investment. It offers several benefits over a DIY home energy audit.

For starters, a professional home energy audit will ensure that your HVAC system is operating efficiently. HVAC equipment consumers energy. If your air conditioner, furnace or heat pump isn’t efficient, it will consume more energy. A professional home energy audit, however, can reveal problems with your HVAC system to ensure peak efficiency.

A professional home energy audit will offer a deeper analysis of your home’s energy usage than a DIY audit. The professionals who perform them often use tools like infrared (IR) thermometers and portable blower doors to identify leaks that would otherwise go unnoticed. With these tools, they can spot thermal leaks so that they don’t lead to higher energy expenses.