An energy assessment or a home energy audit will provide the homeowner with information on where they can save money on their energy bills. This service will let you know if your energy dollars are leaking through the windows, escaping through cracks in your duct work or even out your front door. A whole house energy assessment can give you all these answers and more.
Of course, the first step is to find a qualified professional to perform your energy audit, so be sure to do your research. Talk to two or three companies and ask some specific questions regarding their personnel, years of experience the qualifications of their contractors. Ask them to show you a sample of the finished product, and of course, references of previous home energy audits done.
If you need help getting started, Natural Resources Canada has a list of energy advisors with whom you can consult.
What does a home energy audit consist of?
The energy assessment will consist of the whole house being examined and some or the entire following list of tests conducted:
• Heating system efficiency
• Cooling system and/or central A/C efficiency
• Insulation levels
• Domestic hot water system efficiency
• Health and safety of moisture, indoor air quality, carbon monoxide levels
• Air sealing opportunities
• Overall comfort level (indoor air quality stuffiness/stale odors, hot or cold spots)
Before the auditor arrives to conduct your home energy audit, make a list of any problems you have been noticing. These problems could include drafty rooms or condensation where it shouldn’t be. Have copies or an annual summary of your energy bills. You may also be asked to turn off or set to pilot your water heater and furnace, have ashes removed from the fireplace, and have exterior windows and doors closed and interior doors open.
Making these preparations will help speed up the process, but look for the inspection to last anywhere from three to five hours depending on the size and complexities of your home.
Your inspection should begin with an interview to assess your issues and concerns. After the whole house inspection, the audit requires verification of the safe operation of gas appliances. Once he or she has completed the home energy audit, the auditor should walk through the home explaining your issues and the highlights of the audit. The report should provide solid information on your home’s energy performance and improvements grouped by order of importance. If this home energy audit is being performed for government energy rebates, then a follow-up inspection will be needed after improvements are conducted.
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