Your quality of life depends on having a comfortable home that is healthy to live in. Almost any residence could make improvements in this area, and a whole-home environmental assessment tells you what you can do to increase energy efficiency and safety.
You may know this service as a whole-home energy audit. Regardless of the terminology, the report produced by a skilled technician can lead to saving you money. On top of optimizing your home for heating and cooling, you may also discover problems related to humidity that could promote dangerous mold growth.
What Does the Energy Auditor Do?
Technicians who conduct energy audits possess training and experience with heating and cooling equipment and the operation of major home appliances. An auditor begins by documenting the size of a home and the number of doors and windows.
Next, the auditor will evaluate your utility bills from the previous year. This information serves as an energy usage baseline. The twelve-month record of utility usage can also reveal clues about seasonal problems.
Your auditor will also be interested to know what specific concerns or complaints you have about the home. Your input can help the technician quickly identify sources of air leaks or other energy loss issues.
During the assessment, the technician checks for:
- Air leaks in the home’s structure
- Air leaks in ductwork
- Gas leaks
- Temperature differences throughout the house
- Humidity or damp areas
- Age of appliances
- Type and amount of insulation
Blower Door Test
To check for air leaks, an auditor typically uses a blower door test. After making sure all doors and windows are shut, the technician connects a blower to one door to pull air out of the home. The depressurization draws air into the home through the hidden leaks.
While the blower runs, the auditor goes from room to room and checks for leaks. With the assistance of the blower, leaks are much easier to find, especially ones that you may not have noticed.
Leaks are not always simply at doors and windows. They can be present around electrical outlets or around pipes and vents.
Infrared cameras are also useful for measuring temperatures throughout your home. The camera can immediately pinpoint heat loss from an uninsulated water heater or through a wall.
Gas and Moisture Hazards
In the meantime, the auditor places gas leak and carbon monoxide detectors near appliances to detect problems. You want to know if you have a gas leak no matter how small it might be. On top of wasting your money, the gas is hazardous to your health.
Unwanted moisture causes problems in two ways. It can rot wooden structural elements and allow mold to grow. Depending on the species of mold present, mold in your home ranges from an irritation to a serious health threat.
An energy auditor uses moisture measurement devices to locate wet areas. They can occur near pipes and drains, but they also arise from ductwork. For example, an air leak in a duct could produce condensation due to temperature differences in the conditioned air and the exterior air.
What You Can Expect From an Energy Audit
After one of our technicians from Totally Cool Heating & Air in Austin evaluates your home, you will get a detailed report. The whole-home environmental assessment that we provide is meant to empower you to set priorities when investing in your home’s indoor comfort.
Problems that we often find include:
- Missing insulation
- Air leaks
- Holes or cracks in ducts
- Inefficient appliances
Your report will advise you on how to remedy your home’s problems. Next steps often involve doing one or more of the following things:
- Insulate ducts exposed to unconditioned air
- Seal all air leaks
- Add attic or wall insulation
- Install ventilation
- Update appliances
- Fix water leaks
Improve Your Home Strategically
A whole-home environmental assessment prepares you to get the best results from your home improvement budget. You will know exactly where inefficiencies are occurring and how to fix them to save money.
At Totally Cool Heating & Air, we offer all the services needed to make your home more comfortable. We are licensed heating, cooling, and indoor air quality technicians who perform installations, maintenance, and repairs throughout the Austin area. We can also seal or replace your ducts, and we’re experts at weatherizing homes. Call our team at Totally Cool Heating & Air today to arrange a consultation.