Do You Need a Home Energy Audit?
A home energy audit will help you to get the most out of your energy-saving renovations
Considering a renovation or retrofit? Having a home energy audit will uncover the weak points in your building envelope. A large portion of each hydro bill is taken up by heating and cooling costs, so creating an effective building envelope is your best defense against rising energy bills. A home energy audit will help you to identify where your home is losing valuable conditioned air so you can make the most out of your retrofit investment.
Advantages of an Efficient Home Envelope
When your home is properly sealed, you are able to drastically reduce your energy consumption and make it more comfortable with the mitigation of drafts and cold spots.
An effective home envelope keeps out moisture and avoids condensation. This prevents the formation of mold and mildew which can have disastrous consequences for your home and your family’s health.
A home energy audit will also give you the data you need to create a mechanical ventilation system that ensures good quality indoor air.
What is a Home Energy Audit?
The assessment is conducted by a qualified energy auditor who specializes in identifying areas where your building envelope needs improvement.
An initial inspection will look for obvious gaps and cracks in the home and around doors and windows, plumbing and electrical openings.
Insulation will be inspected and measured to ensure that it is up to code and that there is no settling or gaps in the insulation.
HVAC ducting is the next point of call. Leaks and holes in the ductwork will make your furnace work harder, reduce its longevity and increase your energy costs.
A blower door test is also an integral part of every home energy audit. A large power fan is inserted into a door leading outside and used to suck the air out of your home. This creates a pressure difference between the outside and inside of the house. Air from the outside rushes in through all of the gaps in the building envelope. The rate at which the pressure is restored within the home will indicate just how effective the building envelope is.
While the blower door test is being conducted, your home energy auditor will be walking around the home with smoke sticks. These show you just where the air is coming into the home so you are able to identify leaks.
Infrared cameras are used to measure your home’s heat signature both inside and out. Inside thermal readings are more accurate because wind can distort readings outside. Heat doesn’t always travel in a straight line and so an exterior reading may show heat emanating from one area of the house which originates from another gap and has traveled through the walls.
Home energy audits do cost money and if you would like to get an initial idea of where your retrofit dollars make the most difference, use our Home Energy Savings Calculator here. You can also conduct your own home energy audit using the guide here. Some provinces provide rebates for home energy audits; see if you qualify here.
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