Improving your home’s energy efficiency

Having more money sometimes comes down to finding a way to save money. One way that homeowners can often find savings is through the improvement of their home’s energy efficiency.

“One of the issues we had was around switches and plug outlets throughout the house,” said homeowner Steve Chase. “This was one that was maybe worse than the others. We knew it was kind of cold, but we did not realize quite how bad it was. But the audit did identify this area and it was a pretty simple fix. You just took off the faceplate and put some foam insulation around the electrical box and put the faceplate back on and it made a big difference.”

For Chase, a home energy audit gave him piece of mind by proving recent home improvements weren’t wasted.

“We didn’t build the house, we bought the house existing and it had been five years old when we moved in, and so I think the biggest surprise for us was just, pleasantly, we didn’t have any big issues, and many of the small issues we had, we were able to fix without much trouble,” Chase added.

Before you commit to any improvements, evaluate your home’s needs. An energy audit can help do that by telling you how much energy your home uses and what you can do to improve efficiency.

“I have my infrared camera here and what we do is we go through the house,” said Energy Auditor Art Tompkins. “We look at everything, floors, doors, windows, ceilings – everything that we can think of and we are trying to find issues within the house.”

Auditors also conduct a blower door test to detect leaks.

“This is the skin of the blower door and I preassembled it. It goes right into the door like this,” Tompkins added.

An audit typically takes about three to four hours to complete and costs between $250 and $800. Most auditors take pictures, both infrared and digital, and include those in a report with descriptions and suggestions on how to fix issues.

“When hiring an energy auditor you want to make sure they are an independent third party,” Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks said. “The auditor should come in and give you an assessment. They shouldn’t be selling you the actual items. They shouldn’t be trying to sell you insulation or new windows.”

You should always be home at the time of the audit so you can walk through your house, room by room, with the auditor.