What is a Home Energy Audit?

There are always small things that you can always do to conserve energy like shutting off lights when not in the room or taking shorter showers. However, how do you know just how efficient your home is on its own? That is where an energy audit can help. These reviews will tell you just that as well as which improvements are recommended to take your home’s efficiency to the next level.

How an energy audit helps buyers
Energy audit details are not typically displayed in a typical online listing, however sometimes these documents can be attached to the listing in MLS so that agents have access to share with their buyer clients. If not, sometimes you can request to have these done during a home inspection. This can provide more of a true read as you cannot always guage average bills on the previous owner as everyone uses energy differently.

Home energy score
Various companies including utility companies will perform energy audits, yet the one rating that is becoming increasingly popular is the Department of Energy’s Home Energy Score. This has become a standardized process for measuring efficiency.

Other audit types
Most other sources like utility companies will do a more “visual” audit of your home. This includes things like checking for window types, gaps, how much insulation is in attics or doors along with the type of lightbulbs that are being used. These recommendations are usually more general.

How much does an audit cost?
This will all depend on the size of the home, but can typically cost around $150 to $250. This can be sometimes be even less if rolled into a home inspection package. Utility companies also sometimes offer their visual inspections in exchange for locking into a program or payment plan.

What the auditor looks for
These audits take about one or two hours for most homes. They will measure windows and floor space for insulation. In addition, they check the age of HVAC systems, water heaters and the condition of the home’s ductwork. This all gets entered into a system that will calculate a rating between 1 and 10. A 10 indicates that it is within the top 10% in energy efficiency, 5 being average and 1 consuming more energy than 85% of homes in the United States. These reports also offer recommendations for what the homeowner can do to improve the efficiency, mostly having to do with insulation. They will also offer potential dollar numbers in the way of saving per year should you increase your overall score.

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