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Five Reasons To Start With A Home Energy Audit

November 9, 2013 | Posted by Mitt Jones

When we talk with people considering an insulation project or some other energy improvement, we usually recommend starting with a homeenergyaudit. The initial response often goes something like this: “Why do I need a home energy audit when I already know I need insulation?” Good question.

Why_audit.jpgReason 1: New Insights

A home energy audit often identifies unexpected causes for comfort problems. The chill in that back bedroom may result not only from poor insulation but also from bad duct design, leaky ducts, extreme air leakage, or some other issue. As well as you may know your house, an experienced home performance professional who spends every day analyzing houses will likely have insights that will help you achieve better results with your project.

Reason 2: Best Path in Portland

Starting with a home energy audit can also help you figure out which incentive program in your area will work best for your needs. In the Portland area, homeowners typically have the choice of participating in Clean Energy Works (CEW) or claiming Energy Trust of Oregon incentives. Each path offers incentives in a different way. The more information we have about your house and how best to address its issues, the better guidance we can give you about which path may work best for you. 

Reason 3: Incentives

A home energy audit includes the diagnostic testing necessary to qualify for some incentives. In the Portland area, for instance, we need starting numbers to qualify customers for the $150 air sealing incentive from the Energy Trust of Oregon or the $250 Oregon state tax credit for duct sealing. We can work the cost of that testing into your project cost if you like, but you get more for essentially the same investment with a home energy audit, which provides additional advantages.  

Reason 4: Avoiding Costly Mistakes

Involving a home performance professional early in your process can help you avoid costly mistakes or oversights. If you simply call in an insulation contractor to blow insulation into your attic, for instance, you may not find out about the air sealing that should be done first or about the exhaust fans that would be much easier to replace before the attic is insulated.

And as much as we admire homeowners who are determined to do their insulation work themselves, bringing in an experienced home performance company can prevent mistakes that may render insulation nearly useless. For instance, we often find insulation installed over but not under decking in attic spaces or insulation installed on the roof deck in a vented attic.

The home performce report you receive after your audit and the guidance of a home performance professional should also help you develop a plan, so that you choose your energy improvements wisely and carry them out in an order that makes sense.

Reason 5: Health and Safety

A home performance professional may help improve or safeguard your family’s health and safety. Home performance professionals certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI) are trained to ensure that your gas furnace and water heater are working safely.

Home performance pros are also trained to identify and solve potential indoor air quality problems and to note other potential health and safety issues, such as damaged electrical wiring, natural gas leaks, excessive moisture in the crawlspace, rodent infestation, water pipe leaks, or suspected asbestos. Some home performance pros are also trained to advise homeowners about potential issues with radon and seismic safety. 

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