Every Monday in 2015, I’ll be sharing a different idea to help you save money! Add all of these tips to your frugal repertoire and you’ll be able to save a lot of money this year! I hope you’ll gather a few new ideas or at least some inspiration from this series.
How a Home Energy Audit Can Help You Save on Your Energy Bills
The following post is a guest post by Hilary of CallMePower.ca. Enjoy!
How energy efficient is your home? What are the most cost-efficient changes you can make to save energy and on your monthly utility bills? Getting an energy audit done on your home can help you find out the answers to these questions and more. If you are thinking of renovating your home, here’s why you might want to consider having a home energy audit done first.
What is a Home Energy Audit?
A home energy audit is performed by an independent home energy advisor who inspects your home in order to evaluate its efficiency. They are specially trained to evaluate heating and insulation characteristics of a home, and are licensed by Natural Resources Canada. During a home energy audit the inspector will examine the performance of your home’s heating, insulation and air leakage, hot water, and ventilation systems, and will suggest cost-effective energy efficiency improvements and upgrades.
How Does a Home Energy Audit Work?
A home energy audit has several steps:
1. Walk-Through Assessment
The home energy advisor will start the assessment by walking through certain parts of your home to note aspects of how it uses energy. First, the home energy advisor will take some measurements and pictures of your home from the outside. Next, he or she will look at your furnace and basement in order to examine the age and performance of your furnace and water heater, as well as the level and quality of insulation in your basement. The home energy advisor will also look at other appliances throughout the house, such as the toilets, kitchen appliances, lighting, etc. He or she will also examine how well insulated your attic is.
2. Blower Test
Once the home energy advisor has examined the house from basement to roof, he or she will detect any drafts (which, in technical speak, is also known as “air infiltration”). This is often done by a “blower door test”, in which the technician put the house under reverse pressure by hooking up a powerful fan to the main door. How does this fan work? When turned on, the fan draws air through your home at a constant speed so that it reaches a certain (constant) pressure. This allows the advisor to measure how much leakage takes place within your home, and identify where the drafts are. Identifying the location of the drafts in your home will enable the technician to recommend where in your home needs sealing.
3. Home Energy Assessment Report
Once the inspection is finished, the energy advisor will create a report that breaks down how much energy your home uses for space and water heating, lighting and other appliances, and identifies where in your home energy is lost (windows, doors, basement, attic, etc). Your home energy advisor will explain the results of the report to you, and will answer any questions you might have. The report will identify which energy upgrades would be the most cost effective. Your home will also be compared with similar homes in the NRCan database so that you can see its relative efficiency. It will receive a current rating and a predicted rating for the suggested energy improvements.
Why Get a Home Energy Audit?
To run your home cheaper and more efficiently. Having a home energy audit done on your home will show you how much energy it uses to run, and will give you some ideas on how to cut down on operating costs.
To make sure your renovations are smart ones. The energy efficiency improvement suggestions that you will receive following the evaluation will give you an idea of which renovations are the most energy- and cost-efficient options for your home.
To improve the value of your home. Your home will be given an EnerGuide rating as part of the report given to you following the home energy audit. Having your home reassessed once you’ve made some of the suggested improvements can improve your home’s resale value, as the improved EnerGuide label proves that you’ve made the important renovations for your home.
Where Can I Find a Licensed Home Energy Auditor?
NRCan has a list of licensed NRCan home evaluation service organizations in Canada. Only licensed organizations are able to give your home an EnerGuide label.
How Much Does a Home Energy Audit Cost?
Energy audits generally cost a few hundred dollars, but may be eligible for government rebates. Check with your local municipality or provincial government to see if you are eligible for a rebate if you have a home energy assessment performed on your house.
Hilary is the author of CallMePower.ca, a website that provides information about energy prices in Canada to help Canadians find the best prices for their electricity and gas supply. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, DIY projects, and scoring deals at thrift stores.
See the other articles in this series, here.