5 Reasons Why You Need an Energy Assessment

Reader Contribution by Kari Klaus and Realty Sage
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A thermal camera visually show you leaks

There are so many reasons to get an energy assessment, most of which you’ve probably never even heard of and it’s a good time to consider getting one. Energy assessments are also referred to as “energy audits” and are becoming more popular with home owners, home builders, and renters. Not only do energy audits point to areas where a home’s energy efficiency could be improved, but it could greatly impact many more of your investment decisions including renovations and renewable energy.

Here are 5 reasons to get an energy assessment:

You’re thinking about adding solar energy. Why get solar energy if your home is just going to leak all that investment right out the door or windows, attic or elsewhere? Getting an assessment and following up on fixing any issues will help you recoup your solar energy investment all that much faster.

Your home is being marketed as “green” But is it really green? Sometimes homes are marketed as “energy efficient” without much proof of their level of energy efficiency. An energy assessment can shed some light on the validity of that “green” claim.

You want to save money on utility bills. By understanding where energy is being lost, you can address it head on with sometimes very simple and cost effective fixes. This is  great for renters who may be able to make inexpensive and temporary changes, like weather stripping, to the property which will reduce their utility bill.

You have hot and cold spots in the home. Why is that happening? You might be surprised to learn about the source and remedies for fixing the temperature issues. The loss of hot and cold air in homes can really impinge on your utility savings and a surefire way of knowing that you have issues is noticing inconsistencies in air temperatures in your home.

You’re considering home improvements. Thinking of replacing those windows because you think that they’re the culprit for heating and cooling losses? You may want to check again in case there are other leaky areas where an investment might help resolve your issues.

This short fun video, 5 Signs You May Need An Energy Audit shows a real life energy audit in action and tips.

Find an Energy Assessor Near You

If you’re looking to connect to an energy auditor near you, Realty Sage can help with that. Contact Realty Sage at info@realtysage.com with your request for an energy auditor and the location of your home or apartment. We’ll connect with up to three local professionals who can provide with more information and quotes.

What is an Energy Audit / Assessment?

An energy assessment is similar to a home inspection, but focuses entirely on the elements which affect both the energy consumption and losses in a home. Places that the assessor will look to understand your energy consumption include a review of your heating and air conditioning systems as well as your water heating system. Lighting is also often reviewed as an area where you may be unnecessarily consuming too much energy.

Next, the assessor will want to help determine where you might be losing energy. While most people think that their hot and cold air is lost through older windows and doors, an energy assessment may surprise you. Your ducts may be leaking precious hot and cold air before even reaching the rooms. If you have recessed ceiling lights, this can lead to a loss of cooled and heated air through the holes in those fixtures. And think about how many of those fixtures are throughout your ceilings!

Another possible problem areas is your attic pull down stairs. It may be the culprit for why the temperature is always different in that space than other parts of the house. There is often a lot of gaps where air leaks around the stair cut out in the ceiling.

Attic stair covers help insulate against leaks

The Tools of the Trade

Energy assessments use a few unique tools.  Using thermal cameras assessors detect where hot or cold air is seeping out—it could be those windows or doors or it could be through a lack of insulation in the walls or openings to the outside.  Another tool they use is the blower door test helps to identify the homes air changes per hour (ACH) or how “airtight” the home is. So while the thermal imaging camera may show the location of the leaks, the blower door test can help determine how much leakage is actually occurring.

Blower-door test

Definitely consider getting an energy assessment for a multitude of reasons. There are many programs which reduce the cost of an energy assessment and even provide with you freebies like LED bulbs! Contact info@realtysage.com and we can help connect you to local energy assessors who can tell you more about your options. 

Kari Klaus is the founder of RealtySage.com, a data-driven real estate platform which overlays sustainability intelligence onto home listings. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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