Should I Hire a Home Energy Auditor?

Many homeowners, before making the move to a solar home system, choose to have a home energy audit performed. Home energy audits, which should be conducted by a certified home energy auditor, can be quite revealing as to your home’s energy efficiency. A good energy auditor will do a thorough inspection and report on the entire residence, including a room by room inspection and a study of past utility bills. A home energy audit can be very beneficial for your home. It will identify areas of concern that may be costing you significantly in heating and cooling costs. Some of these may be obvious, such as drafty windows and doors, and others may not. You may be surprised at how much energy is lost through windows and doors you might not think are drafty. A good energy auditor will go into detail in the inspection, analyzing not only the behavior of the home, but also the behavior of its residents. Therefore, you should accompany the auditor on their tour of the home, inside and out, and be sure to ask questions. Your auditor should be thorough in his or her questions as well. A big question that may arise as you consider a home energy audit is, “Why not do my own?” And that is a valid question to be sure. In the same places you will likely find access to professional energy auditing (i.e., local government, utility company), you may also find information on doing your own audit. However, there are advantages to having a professional audit conducted. First off there is the experience, training, and prior knowledge that a professional brings to the work. Secondly, a professional auditor should have access to and use equipment such as a blower door, furnace efficiency meters, surface thermometers, and more. Just as you would when hiring a contractor to do work on your home, you should not take hiring an energy auditor lightly. Obtain and check several references to find an auditor with a high level of customer satisfaction. You can also call the Better Business Bureau to check for any complaints against the energy auditing company. Finally, make sure the auditor uses a calibrated blower door test and thermographic inspections (use infrared cameras to analyze temperature fluctuations). It is hard to find a good reason not to have a home energy audit, especially if you are preparing your home for a solar installation. Audits generally cost about $300-$500 but can provide several ways to reduce energy consumption while saving money and making your home more comfortable to live in. If you have obviously drafty windows and/or doors or an uninsulated house or other such readily apparent problems, then perhaps you do not need to hire an auditor to know what needs fixing. Or, at least, it is a good idea to tackle these problems before considering an energy auditor to put a finer point on things. Link: U.S. Department of Energy

Posted on June 23 in Solar Information by .

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