If you want to make your home more energy efficient, a professional home-energy audit may be the best place to start. A home-energy audit is a complete examination that evaluates a home or company as a system of interconnected components in terms of energy use. Utility bills, indoor air quality, humidity/moisture issues, comfort, and safety are all interwoven components of a dynamic process. An energy audit is an opportunity to understand what can be done to improve your home’s or business’s energy efficiency, thereby cutting heating and cooling costs while avoiding potential concerns connected with indoor air quality and combustion-appliance safety.
The cost of an energy audit varies depending on the market and the sophistication of the energy tracking and other tests performed. However, in general, they are pretty cheap, and those rates are for an audit without a subsidy. Many utility providers provide energy auditing services, and some fund independent audits by up to 75% of the total cost. In either case, if major issues are detected and remedied, the audit will more than pay for itself.
Following the suggestions in an energy audit might result in a 25% to 30% reduction in annual energy use, according to Erik Lindberg, an energy audit professional. Furthermore, cost savings aren’t the sole incentive to have an energy audit completed.
A thorough audit covers four major areas:
The inhabitants’ health and safety
Making a long-lasting structure
According to Lindberg, if the first three of the four are addressed properly, the fourth (which includes monetary savings) will usually come organically. An energy auditor often spends about two hours conducting a complete assessment of windows, doors, insulation levels, attic accesses, appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, and so on.
Energy auditors are certified and licenced by the state in which they work, and they must adhere to the jurisdiction’s rules and procedures. A comprehensive audit often includes an evaluation of the following:
The building shell consists of the foundation, walls, windows, doors, ceiling, and roof.
Heating system and water heater: safety and efficiency tests
Maintenance and safety practises are examined with the homeowner in mind, assisting in fine-tuning the balance between safety, comfort, and energy usage.
Air tightness: equipment were checked using blower-door tests and infrared thermography. These diagnostic instruments assess how well the house is sealed against outside air intrusion, sometimes known as “draftiness.”
Air quality in the home
Analysis of energy bills
Ice dam issues
Condensation on windows
Excessive quantities of dust
Air that is dry
Levels of insulation
Systems that operate mechanically
Analyze the costs and benefits.
For further information on having an energy audit completed, contact your utility company. They may have an energy audit programme, or they may be able to provide information on local providers.
The Blower-Door Experiment
After an energy auditor has analysed the homeowner’s energy bills to acquire the “big picture” on how much energy is being consumed, a specific diagnostic known as the blower-door test can be performed to detect places where energy is being wasted or wasted.
An outside door on the house is opened for the test, and a customised blower-door frame is put within the door. The frame is enlarged and tightened, and a cloth air-barrier is wrapped around it.
After the barrier has been built and the entryway has been effectively sealed, a fan-brace and fan are put in the air barrier. The fan is turned on after the blower-door assembly is installed. The fan is adjusted to blow air out, lowering the air pressure inside the house, and air from outside flows in through cracks and holes, replacing the air that is pushed out.
While the fan is running, specialised metres monitor how much air is being drawn out of the home through leaks, determining how well sealed or “draughty” the house is.
After determining that the house structure is draughty, the following step is to pinpoint the source of the air leaks. The smoke plume from a burning incense stick aids in locating air intake in problem areas, such as inadequately sealed window-joints.
An attic-access panel is another potential source of trouble. Air leakage at this area is an issue because it wastes energy, but it also increases the chance of ice dam formation when warm air is permitted to enter the attic. Once recognised, this issue can be fixed with foam weather strips or another sort of sealant.
An auditor may use an infrared camera to detect less evident energy leakage, as it “sees” heat in the same way that other cameras see visible light. When heat is used in a home, the camera can be used to scan the walls, ceilings, and other structural components of the structure for cold spots. The camera produces images in which cold places appear as dark regions of the image.
Dark lines in our example demonstrated cold air escaping in around joints in the vaulted ceiling, where little or no insulation was utilised. Casings around doors and windows, doorsills, and switchboxes for mounting light switches are other common problem places where cold air can be found leaking in from the outside.
After an audit has been completed and particular problem areas have been identified, work on rectifying the sites responsible for energy waste can begin. Some of these measures are discussed in the following sections.