Home Performance Assessment: More Than an Energy Audit
Once you know that your heating and cooling system is working as it should, find out if your home is as energy efficient as possible by getting a home performance assessment. You can conduct a preliminary evaluation yourself, or simply hire an expert to do it for you. If you don’t believe you are capable of diagnosing problems, or if you prefer not to climb up ladders or into crawl spaces, consider hiring a professional to conduct your assessment.
A home performance assessment will review how much energy your home uses. You’ll see where energy is being wasted so you can then take steps to make your home more energy efficient. Doing so will enable you to save money on your utility bills while conserving energy. To get a relative idea of how energy efficient your home is go to www.energystar.gov. this site is a treasure trove of information which is worth exploring but specifically click the “Assess Your Home” button on the home page under the Improvement tab. Here you will find the “Home Energy Yardstick” evaluation which gives you a quick and easy comparison on your energy use.
When conducting a home performance assessment, you should check the appliances and systems in your home that cost you money to run. ENERGY STAR, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy have designed programs to help consumers save money and protect the environment via energy efficient products and practices. They offer the following breakdown of how energy is used in most homes it says that 29 percent is for heating, 17 percent is for cooling, 14 percent to heat water, 13 percent for appliances, 12 for lighting, and 4 percent for computers and other electronics. Appliances and equipment that are both designed and run properly waste little or no energy.
As you walk through your home, be on the lookout for problems. Keeping a list of what you’ve discovered will help you prioritize any needed improvements. If you hire a professional home consultant, it will also help to focus the evaluation and results. A very straightforward starting point is checking your lights. Consider using compact fluorescent bulbs. Also, it may be worthwhile to use low watt bulbs in some fixtures. LED lights are becoming more cost effective, but still are pretty expensive to buy—though the manufacturers generally claim they will last a long time before needing to be replaced.
Outside of your home, look for holes near faucets, pipes, electric outlets and wiring. Also watch out for cracks and holes in the mortar, foundation, and siding. Make sure doors and windows have tight seals. Don’t forget to examine your chimney, too.
If you don’t believe you are capable of diagnosing problems, or if you prefer not to climb up ladders or into crawl spaces, consider hiring a professional to conduct your home performance assessment. Even homeowners who conduct their own initial assessment sometimes hire a professional to ensure they’ve found all inefficiencies or determine how best to correct a problem.
For more information about Home Performance Assessments, contact us today at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. Our BPI-certified home consultants are ready to help you evaluate your home and determine what improvements to make first.