How A Home Energy Audit Differs From A Home Inspection

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. Homeowners 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.

SERVICES WE PROVIDE
Foundation Waterproofing

Using Mar-flex 5000, we can waterproof any structure with an adhesive seamless barrier that coats your foundation with a high-quality membrane.

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Spray Foam Insulation

The spray application method allows for continuous insulation and an air sealing barrier on walls, roofs, in tight corners, and all contoured surfaces.

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Cellulose Insulation

Made of 75-85% recycled paper, cellulose is the most environmentally friendly and efficient way to insulate your new or existing residential or commercial buildings.

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Green Remodeling

Beyond energy efficiency, we’ll work with you on a number of eco-friendly building improvements that help you qualify for certifications such as LEED for Homes or ENERGY STAR.

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Fiberglass Insulation

Made of up to 40% recycled materials, fiberglass is available as blown-in loose fill, rolls, or batts, and is one of the best ways to reduce your energy bills.

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Radiant Barriers

In a climate such as Virginia’s, radiant barriers or “foil insulation” can be used in tandem with other materials to reduce cooling bills in the summer.

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Energy Audits

We’ll find the leaks and shortfalls of your current insulation, then provide a cost-effective plan that works for you and your project.

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Weatherization

Optimizing your building’s energy efficiency is one of the best investments you can make for comfort, lower bills, a reduced carbon footprint, and air quality.

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Crawl Space Encapsulation

Vented crawl spaces are no longer the way to go. Reduce excess moisture and prevent mold growth by isolating the crawl space from outside moisture.

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Mold Remediation

From the lab test to the mold removal to prevention systems, our whole-home approach to air quality ensures comfort and safety for your family.

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