Getting a Professional Home Energy Audit
Professional home energy audits
A professional home audit will usually begin with a series of questions to learn how you and your family use energy , (copies of utility bills, how many people in your family, is your home occupied all day, do you have any cold or drafty rooms, temperature you set your thermostat).
However, in addition to simply asking questions and making observations, professionals will also have specialized equipment to provide detailed information on your home.
Special testing equipment
Blower Door test
The test consists of installing/sealing a temporary door in your outside door frame, then turning on a calibrated fan to blow air out of your home, creating a pressure difference between the inside and outside. Pressure sensors measure the amount of pressure needed to blow air out of your home and providing an indicator of how 'air tight' your home is (the higher the pressure needed, the more air tight).
Thermal imaging tests
While you can visually check insulation levels in your attic and use a tissue to determine if you have adequate insulation in your walls, a professional energy auditor will use infrared scanning to provide a thermal image (thermogram) of your home's insulation. The thermograms provide visual images that show whether your home needs more insulation and exactly where it should go.
The professional outcome
After dong the information gathering and specialized testing, the auditor will be able to so they will be able to. give you an in depth report that points out areas you can tighten your home's 'thermal envelope' and reduce your home's energy consumption.
So, hire a professional or do it yourself?
You can do your own home energy audit simply using your eyes and things you already have around the house, and the cost to you will only be your time. If you want to know more about doing your own audit, the US Department of Energy has a very good outline of how to go about doing it yourself at their website.
A professional home energy audit will cost in the area $500. Not cheap, but, while your home energy audit will provide basic information, the professional audit will be much more specific and it's evaluation and recommendations will quite likely more than pay for itself with energy savings.
As an added incentive, many levels of government are providing economic incentives to help pay for professional home energy audits in an effort to promote increased energy efficiency