How a home energy audit could save you big money

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Whether it’s winter heating or summer cooling, ensuring your home is energy-efficient is the key to enjoying year-round comfort and saving money. One way to do both of these is by reducing the overall energy consumption in your home. If that sounds daunting, don’t worry! A professional energy audit can show you exactly how to do this throughout your home, room by room. 

Duquesne Light Company offers home energy audits that result in suggestions for improvements or upgrades to save money on your electric bill. Duquesne provides a rebate of up to $250 on recommended installed measures. Plus, if your household meets income-eligibility requirements, the audit may come at no charge. The program also offers low-rate, low-payment options.

So, don’t wait! A home energy audit is your first step to finding problem areas in your home and prioritizing fixes and enhancements that lead to an energy-efficient home year-round. 

The Lowdown on a Professional Home Energy Audit

 

A professional home energy audit will look both inside and outside your home. According to energy.gov, an assessment can take from 30 minutes up to four hours. Starting outside, the auditor will look at windows, walls, and eaves, looking for common, visible issues that cause heat or cooling leaks. Inside, the auditor will conduct a room-by-room assessment of your home in great detail. The auditor will inspect the attic insulation and ductwork and any holes where electrical lines run. They’ll also check your furnace and the ducts in your basement to locate possible leaks. A check of your water heater is next. Audits often also include inspection of lighting and types of light bulbs in use, windows, doors, and indoor air quality. 

Preparing for Your Assessment

Be prepared for your energy audit. Make a list of any known problems, like drafty rooms. Get out your annual energy bills to share with the auditor. Be ready to answer questions like your average thermostat settings in the winter and the summer months. 

Tools and Tests 

 

Professional home energy assessors use various tools and testing devices to perform the audit. The assessor uses an infrared camera to detect what the human eye can’t see, like moisture hiding in a wall, heat loss, poor insulation, air leaks, and poor or improper electrical systems. The auditor may make a heat map of your home to locate abnormally hot or cold spots.

A blower door test is typically used to determine how much air is entering or escaping your home. The professional auditor will mount the blower door (a powerful fan) into the frame of an exterior doorway. As the fan pulls air out of your home, the air pressure inside your home decreases and allows the higher outside air pressure to flow inside through gaps, cracks, and openings. This test can take up to one hour, but identifying leaks is critical to improving your home’s energy efficiency. 

Another way to find drafts and leaks is by using a smoke pen, also called a puffer stick. The pen produces a small amount of non-toxic smoke. When the smoke is released near an area thought to have a draft, the smoke will show the movement of the air. It’s a simple, quick test. The auditor most often uses a smoke pen in fireplace chimneys, windows, and doors. 

 

Common Recommendations from an Energy Audit

The most common recommendations from a home energy audit include:

  • Adding insulation to your attic or walls to prevent heat loss.
  • Sealing ducts in unconditioned spaces in your home.
  • Removing mold and repairing any spaces damaged by mold or moisture.
  • Replacing inefficient heating and cooling equipment and hot water heaters with more energy-efficient models.
  • Installing smart thermostats and smart power strips. 

Another common recommendation to reduce electricity costs is to change your lighting to energy-efficient light-emitting diodes or compact fluorescent lamps. The auditor might also recommend you get new windows or better sealing on your current windows.

Costs and Savings

 

Energy audits can result in up to a 30% reduction in your annual energy consumption. And that, in turn, can equate to savings of 30% on your heating and cooling costs. Keep in mind that the recommendations need to be implemented to achieve the savings. Some recommendations can be costly, like replacing appliances, but others are less expensive, like replacing light bulbs or sealing cracks. 

So, are you ready to start saving money in your energy-efficient home? Visit dlcenergyrebates.com to learn more about available rebates for full home energy audits from Duquesne Lighting. The professional audit fee is $375 and includes the installation of LED bulbs, LED nightlights, and smart power strips, plus the professional recommendations to deliver immediate cost savings.

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