Wait, did you leave your front door open?

15 October 2018

If you’re like most homeowners, every time you turn on your AC or heat, you’re throwing money away. Why? Because your home has leaks – leaks that let the conditioned air you’re paying for seep out, hour after hour.

You wouldn’t leave your front door wide open on the hottest day of summer, or during a brutally cold winter. But all the small cracks around your windows and doors – not to mention inadequate insulation in your attic, walls, and basement or crawlspace – add up to have the same effect. In fact, the Department of Energy estimates that homeowners could reduce their annual energy costs by 10-20 percent simply by stopping leaks.

The best way to find those leaks – and seal them – is to conduct a full-home energy audit.

When our Revive Energy team arrives to conduct an audit, you can expect a thorough, room-by-room examination of your home. We’ll help you identify where you can better seal and insulate the so-called “envelope” of your home (made up of your roofline, foundation, and the exterior walls that form a barrier between your living space and the outside). And, we’ll provide a detailed, custom plan of action for making your home as energy efficient as possible.

Many times, our suggested repairs and upgrades are affordable and simple – a $2 tube of caulk can go a long way toward stopping leaks around windows and doors, for example. And, for less than $50, you can find a wide array of programmable thermostats, all of which can help you use less energy. So, you shouldn’t automatically assume that energy upgrades are beyond your financial reach. We’ll work with you to create a plan that fits into your budget.

What is a home energy audit?

During an audit, our team will check for a wide range of factors that can contribute to wasted energy in your home, including:

-Obvious air leaks – These could be spots where you’ve felt drafts, including around windows and doors, as well as harder-to-notice gaps around plumbing connections, electrical outlets and fixtures, and other exterior openings. Following the audit, we’ll suggest a fix for each leak, including caulking, weather stripping, and installing energy efficient door and window upgrades, if warranted.

-Areas needing improved insulation – These could include the attic, basement or crawl space, walls, flooring, and even around plumbing connections or recessed lighting. We’ll use thermal imaging of your exterior walls to determine your current insulation levels. Then, our team can walk you through the current, recommended insulation R-values (the measurement of the insulation strength, in effect) for each area of your home, while outlining your options for making upgrades, including blown-in, batt and roll, or foam insulation.

-Potential leaks in your ductwork EnergyStar.gov reports that in a typical home, as much as 20-30 percent of conditioned air moving through ducts is lost to leaks or poor connections. Our team will check for spots where your ducts may need repair or where seals may need to be reinforced.

-Adequate heating/cooling system – Our auditors will thoroughly inspect your existing HVAC system to determine its efficiency and overall effectiveness, while outlining options for more efficient system upgrades when warranted, including geothermal heat pumps or high-efficiency furnaces.

-Energy savings through appliance upgrades – Homes using dated water heaters or refrigerators could recoup significant energy savings by upgrading to newer, high-efficiency models. Our team will outline which of your appliances may be ready for an upgrade, and how to select the model that best fits your needs.

And-the-savings-are-great

-Presence of  programmable thermostat – The Department of Energy estimates that homeowners can save as much as 10 percent on their annual heating and cooling costs by installing a programmable thermostat. So if you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, our team will suggest installing one. It’s an easy, affordable upgrade that can have a big impact.

But the audit isn’t only about energy efficiency. The health and well-being of your family is also our highest priority. That’s why our team is also trained to spot potential health hazards and safety risks, such as:

  • Mold
  • Carbon monoxide risks
  • Fire hazards
  • Water leaks or water damage
  • Evidence of gas line leaks
  • Architectural damage

What to expect with your energy audit?

The typical home energy audit takes about two hours and is meant to be a collaborative effort between our team and you, the homeowner.

We’ll ask to see a years’ worth of your utility bills in order to better understand your typical energy usage. We’ll ask about drafts you’ve experienced as well as areas where heating and cooling tend to be uneven in your home. We’ll also want to know if anyone in your family has experienced allergy or respiratory problems – a sign that mold may be present.

As part of the audit, in addition to the room-by-room inspection, our team will conduct a Blower Door Test, which includes installing a high-power fan at your home’s front door, while sealing all the other windows and doors in your house. Our auditors will then take air pressure measurements to determine the overall leakiness of your home. The results are reported in air changes per hour. (To give you a baseline, a home with just 5-6 changes per hour would be considered tightly sealed, while a home with 20 or more changes per hour would be considered very leaky.) The Blower Door Test is a crucial step in helping us determine your home’s overall energy efficiency, since a more tightly sealed home equals a more energy efficient home.

Are you tired of paying too much for utilities?

Taking steps to improve the insulation and air sealing of your home – as well as the efficiency of your appliances and heating and cooling systems – can lead to a significant reduction in your yearly utilities costs. That’s savings that can go back in your pocket, rather than out through the gaps and crevices around your doors and windows.

If you’re ready to be proactive about cutting your energy use, give us a call today to schedule a Revive Energy home energy audit. We’ll help identify smart steps you can take – all on a budget you’re comfortable with – to make your home more energy efficient and more comfortable.