The Energy Audit Math
September 9, 2016 | Morgan Wigden
      You’ve heard of home energy audits or assessments. You may have even thought they sounded like a pretty good idea: A professional auditor comes to your house, assesses how much energy your home uses—and loses—and makes recommendations for steps you can take that will save you money over time. But you just haven’t pulled the trigger. Well, why not this year? 

      According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average energy audit saves homeowners between 5 and 30 percent off their energy bills each year. With the average household spending $2,060 on energy bills every year, according to EnergyStar, that means an audit could save between $103 and $618 annually. Over the years, those numbers really add up. 

      But an energy audit isn’t exactly cheap. According to HomeAdvisor, most average between $218 and $551. To save the upfront cost of hiring a pro, you could conduct an amateur version yourself by following the steps outlined at energy.gov. Typically this involves a visual inspection of any place two materials meet, electric outlets, doors, windows and a few other spots. 

      However, there are benefits to hiring a pro to perform a diagnostic test. Professional audits typically employ a blower test. A powerful fan mounts into the frame of an exterior door and pulls air out of the house, lowering air pressure inside, which then allows the outside air to flow in through all unsealed cracks and openings. This is a more thorough method of detecting leaks and can help the auditor offer better recommendations for ways to address your home’s energy inefficiencies.  

      A professional may also be able to determine how useful your insulation is acting and other ways your home may be losing energy. 

      If you want to hire a professional, try searching through the Department of Energy’s Residential Energy Services Network, resnet.us.
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