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For many homeowners, utility bills are much higher than they should be due to wasted energy caused by drafts and inefficient appliances. If you spend more for heat and electricity than your neighbors do, or if your bills skyrocket at one time of the year and you aren’t sure why, a home energy audit can help you identify the reasons and make changes to reduce your energy usage.

What Will Happen in a Home Energy Audit?
A home energy auditor will conduct a room-by-room inspection to find out where your house is losing energy. Depending on the size of your home and the scope of the audit, this may take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.

The auditor will check the outside of the house for damage, holes, and gaps in and around the windows, walls, and roof that could be causing air leakage. If your house has an attic, the auditor will inspect the insulation and areas where electrical lines enter the house. In most assessments, the auditor will conduct a blower door test that involves closing all windows and doors and using a blower door machine to depressurize the house and an infrared camera to identify any leaks. In addition, the auditor will inspect the furnace, water heater and ducts, as well as other appliances and lighting fixtures, to identify any that are inefficient.

After the inspection, the auditor will discuss the findings and suggest ways to make your home more energy efficient. These may include adding insulation and weather stripping, replacing appliances, installing more energy-efficient windows, and switching to light bulbs that use less energy.

How Much Will It All Cost?
Some companies charge a fee for home energy audits, which may be a fixed rate or may depend on the size of your home. Some utility companies, governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations offer energy audits at little or no cost.

If the auditor recommends expensive changes, such as replacing windows or appliances, you may be hesitant to spend thousands of dollars, but it can pay off in the long run since you’ll have consistently lower utility bills each month. In addition, your utility company or your state or local government may offer payment assistance or tax incentives to make energy efficiency upgrades more affordable.

A Home Energy Audit Can Be a Smart Investment
Many homeowners are shocked to learn how much they pay each month for wasted energy. A home energy audit can help you identify problems and address them so you don’t continue throwing away your hard-earned money. Even if you have to pay for a home energy audit, it can be money well spent. If you’ve noticed that your utility costs are higher in the winter or summer, schedule an audit so you’ll have time to make any recommended changes before the season when your bills normally rise and begin to enjoy immediate savings.

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