Energy Audit

Old 06-23-14, 10:49 AM
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Energy Audit

I got a quote for a company that will come in and do an 'energy audit' on my home.

Anyone have experience with this? Price seems reasonable-- $150.

Just worried that they may try to get me on the hook for their 'recommendations' later...
Old 06-23-14, 10:53 AM
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Most likely they will indeed "recommend" a few companies that can fix found issues. One of the Pro's here actually does or did audits, so wait for him to weigh in.

Is this sponsored by your power company or was this a cold call?
Old 06-23-14, 11:12 AM
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Unless I'm mistaken, our local power company does residential energy audits for free. I think they even have a program in place to help you with repairs/updates to make your house more energy efficient. I'd talk to your power company before I spent any money on this!
Old 06-23-14, 12:51 PM
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I do audits on my, my families and my rental properties and it can catch a lot of things. Most of which you can find yourself if you just go to the effort. They are easiest to do on the coldest winter days when it's easy to feel the cold around electrical outlets and feel the draft around doors. Are your ducts insulated? Is your attic insulated? If so what type of insulation and how thick? It's mostly stuff you can learn from a book or the Internet. In general I'd say you can get 75-90% of the benefit of an audit just by educating yourself and inspecting your own home.

I use a rather expensive thermal camera (FLIR) that makes an audits extremely quick and thorough. It can easily spot the usual drafts and missing weatherstripping but can also magically see into the walls and point out where there may be missing insulation or where there are gaps in the current insulation. Honestly though. If you are not willing to address the more difficult insulating issues then it's not worth the added expense of a thermal inspection. I even have some insulation gaps in my home but I'm not about to cut open my living room walls for those limited areas.
Old 06-23-14, 04:40 PM
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Hi sirk, the first decision is, are you looking to qualify for some form of incentive money? If so, there are often requirements that an audit be done and that your resulting improvements (real or fudged) look to be a 25% or 50% reduction in current energy costs. Most of these programs in my area have run out of free money, but if applicable in NJ, then you should leave everything as bad as possible. Fixing the easy stuff yourself just subtracts those potential savings from the total they need to meet the program requirements. Had to get that out of the way.

Then you need to determine if this is a full audit or one that just targets the work they want to do. A typical full audit from an independent energy auditor will run much more than $150, but will vary based upon the size and complexity of your home and your location.

Pilot mentioned an Infrared Camera and I love them, however, an IR camera is almost useless without a decent temperature difference. This time of the year, if the ac is running it might be somewhat useful.

If you have forced hot air heat or ducts for the ac, then you would want them to test for leakage (a duct blaster). It gives you a number to compare once some sealing is done to be sure they made an improvement. Same goes for a whole house leakage test using a blower door.

The advice can go on for a long time, but as PD said, we can help you do most of the auditing and judge the results.

Old 06-30-14, 03:07 PM
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I'm in NJ (same as OP) and had no problems finding company's that perform the service for free.
They will show you where you can save energy, make suggestions and tell you if you qualify for any state rebate programs. It was the best 1/2 day off work I ever had, the blower door and thermal imaging was an eye opener and showed easy DIY fixes.
Old 07-08-14, 07:18 AM
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Thanks for all the replies! I got tied up with my mini-split install, and neglected this thread.

Where did you find a whole house audit for free?

The one I found was off the energy incentive website. The $150 was a special they were running though June--missed the boat. Rack rate for them is $300

I think my biggest question is whether adding insulation to my mid-fifties cape cod style home would do anything to help keep the second floor temp a bit more moderated (without the ACs, there is a 20 degreeish difference between upstairs and down).

I had an insulation contractor give me an estimate, blowing in cellulose to get to R-49, but without an attic, I am wondering how much of a difference that will make to my energy bills...
Old 07-09-14, 10:37 PM
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For $150 that's reasonable. At the end though they come with a device which does the work itself

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