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February 26, 2015
Most home buyers are familiar with the practice of having a home inspection performed prior to closing on a new house. In fact, most mortgage companies require home inspections.
A home inspector's report will review the condition of the home's heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing, electrical systems, roof, attic, visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement, and visible structure.
While home inspection companies do look at energy efficiency related systems in homes, their inspections are visual, and they typically do not give you detailed information about how old your furnace or heat pump is or what their efficiency ratings are. They likely will not note leaky duct work, or duct work in an unconditioned space that is not properly sealed or insulated. They’ll tell you that you have insulation, but not how functional the insulation is or what the R-value is. Some companies will give you an efficiency checklist for a charge. These inspection checklists may hit the highlights, but what the inspector doesn't see, smell, or test won't make their checklist.
Professional Auditors Do More Than Provide Checklists
An energy audit is the only true way to understand how well your home is "performing." A professional home energy auditor begins with a similar inspection of your home, but in the process, they then analyze the whole house as a system, and take detailed notes on efficiency ratings and insulation or duct leakage measurements. As awareness of the impacts of the efficiency of our homes increases, energy audits are becoming more popular. Home owners are requesting audits to learn how to reduce their energy bills, determine how to make improvements during a remodel, and secure financing for improvements.
Depending on the type of audit being done, most commonly the end result of an energy audit is a detailed summary of findings and recommendations. Whether increasing insulation or installing a more efficient furnace, a professional auditor can point you to a clear path to a more energy efficient home.
Professional Auditors Are Trained Building Scientists
Performing an energy audit takes a lot of experience and requires a properly trained and certified building analyst who is an expert in house-as-a-system evaluations. It also requires diagnostic tools and equipment for testing such as a blower door or an infrared camera for thermal imaging. Depending on your heating system, your building analysts may perform a combustion safety test to ensure that your combustible appliances are not back drafting or leaking harmful carbon monoxide. The will also look for moisture, mold or other indoor air quality issues.
Take Your Home Inspection to the Next Level with a Home Energy Audit
Don’t stop learning about your new home with a checklist-type home inspection. Energy audits are an easy first step for homeowners to take to begin to take action to reduce energy bills, lessen the impact on the environment and make their homes more comfortable to live in. An energy audit provides information that empowers homeowners to understand their energy bills, energy usage and options for improving home value. Contact a professional energy audit firm, such as Weatherseal Insulation. Let us tell you how we perform home energy audits and what you can expect.
T. Coffey, Charlottesville, VA
Many thanks for a job well done. Your crew was efficient and thorough and the work was done in a timely manner.