I can't count the number of times I have gone into a home after the homeowners had a "free energy audit" but still have high energy bills or continued comfort issues. Free typically meant they got crap for an audit sometimes they have had "free" improvements done too. By the time they are fed up and call us in, they have had little to no improvement or savings from their free audit/work. Throwing more money down the drain. I have even found where they did improvements but were dishonest in how much they improved it, often no actual improvement was made. I have also been to homes where they just spent $3500 on a radiant barrier with no improvement to the home. I have been to homes where they had a brand new 5 ton high efficiency AC unit just installed but their house is now so humid they can't stand it and their bills have actually gone up.
Even if you are paying for an Energy Audit they are not all the same... This is an area where experience really counts.
What a Quality Energy Audit should Include:
|Blower door installed on a house|
- An experienced RESnet or BPI certified auditor or one with both certifications.
- A brief initial discussion about energy usage, problem areas, comfort concerns etc.
- Blower Door test
- Duct blaster test
- Thermal imaging
- A full diagnostic of all HVAC performance
- Combustion appliance safety testing of any gas appliance.
- Your house should be measured including windows etc
- The auditor spending quality time in the attic and crawlspace
- The audit should take 3-6 hours in your home.
- A computer energy model to evaluate the recommended improvement
- A quality detailed lengthy report showing their findings, recommendations and payback of recommendations, my reports run 20-35 pages.
- Improvements should include no cost and low cost improvements even simple lifestyle changes.
- An option for a post work "test out" to verify installed components
- Often the utility will come through after an audit and do a quality control audit, this is good thing, if they ask, let them do it. It keeps companies honest and ensures your home was assessed correctly with correct findings.
|Missing Ceiling Insulation (lots more like this in the room)|
|Pic of above thermal."Our Master Bedroom is always so hot"|
So what should this Energy audit cost? There are a lot a variables but on average nationally it is between $400-$750+. Every home I have audited the cost of the audit was more than recovered in the first year (even in a few months) by following our suggestions.
There are several places to find Auditors:
- Check with your local utility for any comprehensive audit programs (utility offered "Free audits" are a waste of time)
- Resnet. (Residential Energy Services Network)
- Look into Home Performance with Energy Star.
- Friends and Family who have had Audit's preformed.
Keeping these suggestions in mind, you should have a good experience with your energy audit.