Published: October 11, 2018
If You’re Thinking Of Buying a Home Warranty, Consider an Energy Audit First
If you’re a homeowner looking to improve your home’s energy efficiency, make sure this is at the top of your to-do list: Schedule a home energy audit.
What Is An Energy Audit?
A home energy audit, also known as a home energy assessment, explains how your home consumes energy and whether the current systems in place are working properly to keep the energy you use from leaking out. Auditors then pinpoint areas of concern, identifying energy inefficiencies and make suggestions on how best to improve them.
Energy Audits Are A Good Call For All Homes, No Matter The Size or Age
If you live in an old home, a new home, a refurbished home, a fixer-upper, a one-story, two-story, ranch-style, duplex, barndominium, or a tiny house, energy audits illuminate that which you may not have known.
You know the female detective who solved mystery after mystery in the popular series for kids? Home energy auditors themselves are a bit like Nancy Drew. Auditors are the myth busters providing answers to homeowners’ questions like:
- Why is it that even when we crank up the heat our house still feels cold?
- Why is there condensation on the inside of our windows?
- Why is our energy bill through the roof? (Literally, this might be happening.)
- My family members are constantly sick. Could that have something to do with our house?
Uncover Your Whole-House System With An Energy Audit
You can think of it like this: Your home operates as a system – a whole-house system. Though separate rooms and separate floors may seem distinct, certain aspects of a home are all interconnected. When your whole-house system is working properly, energy efficiency is high. As is comfort, durability, and certain health and safety aspects. Every home is unique in its energy consumption, which changes season to season and depending on the number of people living within the home.
You can see why an energy audit is important if you’re thinking about buying a home warranty. Namely, if a major overhaul is needed on the whole-home system, or even if smaller elements within the system need maintenance, a home service contract could be the right investment choice. This is especially true depending on the issuing home service contract company’s policy on pre-existing conditions. If there aren’t any stipulations, a home warranty could fine-tune your home’s major systems and also be the resource you turn to for future maintenance and preventative care moving forward.
Who Conducts Home Energy Audits?
A certified energy auditor can evaluate your home and make energy-saving recommendations, or you can work through a DIY home energy audit checklist yourself. Through the Department of Energy, a DIY Home Energy Saver checklist is available here.
If you hire a professional certified energy auditor to assess your home, keep in mind that not all audits are the same. Professional audits range from an auditor conducting a basic home energy audit to a more in-depth audit. Basic audits, which are relatively inexpensive, only take about an hour. No specialized equipment is necessary.
If you’re looking for a more detailed assessment, more thorough audits are available. These energy audits oftentimes include specialized diagnostic equipment detecting air leaks, areas lacking insulation, and inefficient and malfunctioning equipment. During this type of home energy audit, auditors will interview you about your concerns and run diagnostic tests like air leakage tests, duct air leakage tests, and run infrared scans to zero in on the problem areas you may or may not have had on your radar in the first place.
Auditors also visually inspect equipment and insulation and check for signs of mold and moisture. At the end, the auditor will offer professional recommendations.
After improvements have been completed by a certified contractor – easily, the ability to call on a network of available pre-screened contractors is one of the biggest benefits of a home warranty – a re-evaluation can then take place. If your home energy auditor does not offer this follow up appointment known as the “test out” – you should request it. The auditor will visit once more and conduct a final walk through, a series of safety tests, and one final inspection.
Does An Energy Audit Matter to Anyone Else But Me and My Family?
Actually, it does. Before buying a home warranty, knowing how your home consumes energy helps determine the state of your whole-home system. What is the current state of your whole-home system? Is everything relatively new and in working order? Are certain aspects aging and in need of repair? Are you certain you know? Don’t let vague assumptions lead you toward home system failures.
The Department of Energy created a Home Energy Score to help homeowners be more certain. Like a miles-per-gallon rating for a car, this score details how efficient a home is on a simple one-to-ten scale. Ten represents the most efficient home.
The Home Energy Score rating can be included in real estate listings, home appraisals, and can even be a factor in mortgage financing. In real estate, high scores might encourage buyers to place offers – it’s an obvious selling point, especially when a third-party value, or score, has been assigned to your home in terms of its energy efficiency. Sellers may want to double check their own Home Energy Score and see if they can improve their Home Energy Score before they list their home on the market.
In the day-to-day hustle and bustle, you’re not always checking to make sure there isn’t a leak around the fireplace chimney or mold or moisture where it shouldn’t be. A home energy audit can help pick up where the untrained homeowner eye may be leaving off – and can be a huge money and energy saver.