Home Energy Audit to Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day has been celebrated around the world each year since 1970. Hundreds of events will be taking place across the United States in honor of this annual reminder of the importance of caring for our environment. Take part in the environmentally-minded spirit of the day by finding creative ways to impact the planet’s health. One great way to lessen your impact on the environment, not to mention reduce the amount you spend on your utility bills, is to conduct a home energy audit to celebrate Earth Day. Maybe you’ve never heard of this process or you’d like to learn more about what it entails, so here’s a quick look at the advantages of home energy audits for your budget and the environment.

  • What is a home energy audit?
    Quite simply, an energy audit of your property is an inspection of every aspect of your home’s consumption of utilities like electricity, gas and water. You already know that the more of these you use, the more you’re spending each month – but also the more energy you’re wasting which could be conserved and therefore wouldn’t have as great of an impact on the environment. You can conduct the home energy audit yourself if you’re willing to climb into every nook and cranny of your home and inspect every square foot of your exterior. Or, you can hire a professional service provider to make this assessment for you. Remember, the bill up front for the contractor could pay for itself if he or she finds a problem that you didn’t notice on your own because you didn’t have a trained eye or the best equipment for the job.

  • How does it work? An energy auditor should start on the exterior of the house to check for any loose-fitting joints in your home’s construction, including visible cracks in your foundation and holes or other gaps in your siding and roofing. Seams, no matter how small, mean that energy is escaping from your home. (Imagine that hot air in the winter, or the cool air in the summer, as little dollar signs floating away from your home. It’s like polluting the environment with both wasted energy and wasted money!) Next the inspector will move indoors and use various pieces of equipment to check for air and water leaks on every surface of the interior. Handheld infrared cameras and other advanced imaging devices will allow the inspector to examine all the places you can’t see with your naked eye – everything from the interior of your furnace and ductwork to the spaces behind your walls. The inspector can also seal your home to create a negative air pressure that will make it even easier to see where exterior air is seeping into the home. Your inspector should crawl through your attic and check the insulation depths and how well it is laid into the spaces between boards. He or she should also inspect the holes where electrical wiring goes from one floor of the home to another, especially into the attic. Any gaps in these areas can create costly energy waste. An energy audit sounds like a big undertaking because it is – so that’s why you may want to think about having a professional conduct the assessment for you.
  • What to consider when hiring a home energy auditor. Check reviews online and make sure that this isn’t someone’s new gig to make a quick buck – a reputable company with a wealth of experience in home improvement is going to be worth every dollar. We recommend consulting at least three companies for quotes, and if you like one better than the other but it’s more expensive, see if they’ll price match their competitor. (The worst they can say is no, right?) Ask each prospective company what kinds of equipment they use for the inspection and about how long they expect it to take. Prepare a list of questions and concerns for your inspector before he or she arrives, and don’t be afraid to tag along with them to see any problem areas for yourself. This will help you to fully understand the kinds of repairs that need to be made to correct the issues, which will help you with any future contractors who will come out to fix the problems.We hope you have a happy Earth Day 2019! To learn more about events that are going on in your area on April 22nd and other dates throughout the year, check out the Earth Day Network at www.earthday.org or one of the many other websites dedicated to making our world a greener place.

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