Spring is the perfect time to take inventory, care for appliances and do a home energy audit.  A home energy audit is often the first step in making your home more efficient. An audit can help you assess how much energy your home uses and evaluate what measures you can take to improve efficiency.

The Value of a Home Energy Audit

Home energy audits can pinpoint areas in your home and opportunities to help save money on your monthly energy bills.  Here are a few ways a home energy audit can help you save energy and money:

- identify energy loss due to air leakage around windows, doors, and elsewhere
- evaluate the efficiency of your lighting
- check your heating and cooling systems for inefficiencies
- identify areas where moisture condensation is a problem
- evaluate your home’s insulation

You can perform a simple energy audit yourself, or have a professional energy auditor perform a more thorough audit.

Do-It-Yourself Audits

If you have five minutes and your last 12 months of utility bills, use you can the ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick to compare your home's energy efficiency to similar homes across the country and get recommendations for energy-saving home improvements.  Or you can do a simple but diligent walk-through.  When assessing your home, keep a checklist of areas you have inspected and problems you found. The Energy Savers DIY Home Assessment checklist provided by the U.S. Department of Energy is a great tool to help you get started.

Professional home energy audits can help homeowners identify the ways their homes use energy, and can help provide strategies for making homes more comfortable and more energy efficient.

Selecting a Home Energy Auditor

There are a lot of home energy auditors out there. State or local government energy and weatherization offices can be a good source for recommended auditors, or your electric or gas utility might offer an energy audit service.

An energy auditor will do a room-by-room examination of the residence, as well as a thorough examination of past utility bills.  Before selecting an auditor make sure they provide thermographic inspections and calibrated blower door tests.

Before the Home Energy Audit

After you decide to do-it-yourself or make an appointment for a home energy auditor to come out to evaluate your home, but before the audit begins, you should make a list and answer the following questions in order to better evaluate your home’s energy efficiency:

- What’s your average thermostat setting for the summer?
- What’s your average thermostat setting for the winter?
- Is anyone home — people or pets — while you’re at work?
- When do you leave for work, and when do you get home?
- How many people live in the home?
- Do you use all your home’s rooms?

Your answers may help uncover some simple ways to reduce your household's energy consumption.  Also, make sure to have a copy or a summary of your home’s annual energy bills from your utility provider.  Auditors will use this information to more accurately set a baseline for their evaluations.

But remember, audits alone don't save energy. You need to implement the recommended improvements. Once you have identified where you can start saving energy in your home let Save on Energy help you find the right provider to increase energy efficiency, lower utility bills, and put more money in your pocket.