Investing in a home energy-efficiency audit is one of the most effective steps a homeowner can take to improve whole-house performance — and save on energy bills. If you find a well-trained auditor, he can also discover a variety of health and safety issues that you might not be aware of, even further extending the benefit of an audit.
When you schedule a home energy-efficiency audit, you can expect the technician to perform a variety of tests including the following:
- Use an infrared camera to help identify locations throughout your home’s exterior where heat is lost or gained. This specialized equipment helps the technician pinpoint specific areas where insulation might be performing under par or was incorrectly installed. It can also help to reveal locations where air leaks occur. The camera’s images will show white areas, indicating a warmer space where the home’s seal is effective, and black areas, showing cooler spaces where heat is lost.
- Use a "blower door test," specifically designed to reveal air leaks. Attached to an exterior door, the device consists of a fan that will draw air out of the home, creating a lower pressure indoors. This creates ideal conditions for outside air to be drawn into the home through cracks and leaks. The technician will move throughout the house, running a smoke pencil along the walls, floors and ceilings to detect leaks.
Once you receive the results of your home energy-efficiency audit, your technician should recommend potential solutions to problem areas. In addition to sealing leaks and upgrading insulation, to reduce the heating and cooling load of your home, common solutions include:
- Using ceiling fans to circulate and cool the air, which allows you to raise the indoor temperature by a couple of degrees, reducing the cooling load on the air conditioner.
- Scheduling regular maintenance visits for your HVAC equipment, ensuring that it operates as efficiently as possible.
- Ensuring that your attic is properly ventilated to reduce heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter. Additionally, it is critical that no leaks exist between the attic and house — something that is far more common than people realize.
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.