One of the scariest things a homeowner can face is the bill from their power company.
People run their AC more often during the summer to compensate for the higher temperatures outside. When winter blows through town, they turn up the heat to keep from freezing.
However, you may notice that your overall energy bills are higher than expected, especially when compared to your friends and family. An energy audit can assess your energy use and help you save money.
Here’s everything you need to know about a home energy audit cost and what they look for.
Why Do You Need a Home Energy Audit?
There are a few reasons why you’d opt for a home energy audit.
You’re trying to be more eco-friendly and see where you can cut your energy use. Your energy company has been charging you more recently, and you want to know what’s causing higher usage. Or maybe you’re trying to get ahead of any future problems.
One of the biggest benefits of a home energy audit is improving your energy efficiency. Common energy wastes you may not be aware of include gaps in your house that let out your AC, old appliances, and poorly functioning HVAC equipment.
In turn, improving your energy efficiency reduces the money you spend every month. Homeowners who upgrade their efficiency can save as much as $400 a year on their utility bills.
After you’ve fixed problems with your house, you’ve also increased its value. You won’t have to worry about a potential buyer’s home inspection bringing these things up and influencing their decision.
What Utility Companies Look For
Many different factors can influence the price of electricity. As such, utility companies look for specific problem areas. This involves a combination of visual inspections and mechanical tests.
You can expect a home assessor to measure your windows and insulation. They’ll record information about your heating and cooling systems, as well as look into the condition of your current ductwork. Doors and windows will be checked for any air leaks.
A home assessor will also inspect your major appliances and suggest changes you could make. That could include replacing an old refrigerator or changing out your light bulbs.
They may also notify you of any safety issues during the inspection.
Home Energy Audit Cost in Florida Broken Down
A visual inspection doesn’t cost the assessor anything other than their time and expertise. However, they will most likely incorporate additional home energy tests such as a blower door test and infrared scanning.
A blower door test involves putting a fan in the main entry door to suck the air out of the house. They’ll then look throughout the building for any air leaks in your walls, windows, and ducts.
For infrared scanning, an assessor will point a scanner at problem areas of your house to look for any temperature anomalies. If one or more walls have temperature variations, that could suggest air leakage.
The blower door test costs $350 on average, while infrared scanning costs roughly $300. The average cost for an energy audit nationwide is $400, but certain places like Miami, Florida can cost around $750.
ASHRAE is a global society focused on heating, refrigerating, and air-conditioning quality. They have created three levels of testing to help separate out the different types of audits available. Residential energy auditors often use their levels as a standard for their work, adjusting the home energy audit cost accordingly.
A level 1 audit, also known as a Walk-Through Audit, is the most affordable option. In this audit, you can expect the assessor to do a brief walk-through of your home and review your utility bills. If there are any signs of an energy problem, they’ll let you know in their cost and savings analysis.
The analysis includes simple things you can do to improve your energy consumption.
A level 2 audit is also known as an Energy Survey and Analysis. This type is more in-depth than the previous level and looks closely at your past utility bills. The assessor looks for any trends in your use of natural gas and electricity.
This level’s analysis report includes more detailed information on how you can cut costs, such as upgrading your HVAC system.
A level 3 audit is the most comprehensive option. It provides a detailed analysis and suggested improvements to make your building more energy-efficient.
This type of audit is usually conducted in commercial areas, where the amount of money spent on energy is more than in a residential building. As such, it can cost much more to perform than the other two levels.
How You Can Improve Your Energy Use
After your energy assessment, the auditor or assessor should provide detailed information on where you can improve your energy efficiency. They will also input their findings into a database that calculates your Home Energy Score (HES).
The higher your score, the better. A house at 5 out of 10 has average energy efficiency. Homes with a 1 need a lot of help to fix their energy usage.
One way to improve your energy efficiency is by replacing your windows with better-insulated models. You’ll also want to repair any gaps in your walls or attic to prevent air leakage.
A smart thermostat can help automatically manage your AC. Set a schedule so it can automatically adjust the temperature when you’re asleep or away from the house.
While a significant investment at first, installing solar panels can help cover most of your energy bills as well as reduce your dependence on the city’s power grid.
Solve Your Energy Problems
Once you’ve finished paying off your home energy audit cost, you may be left with a bevy of problems that need to be fixed. However, fixing up your house is easier said than done. You don’t want to spend more money fixing up your HVAC system if you still have air leakages throughout the house.
West Bay Energy has you covered. We offer products and services to optimize your home energy experience, including hybrid hot water heaters and solar design. Our serviced areas include Pinellas County, Citrus County, and more.
Contact us today to hear more about our services.