How Much Does a Home Energy Audit Cost?
If you find yourself holding your breath every time an energy bill lands on your doormat, it could be time to consider your home's energy efficiency.
Paying for a home energy audit is often money well spent, as it can help you make practical improvements to get your energy usage under control.
A home energy audit — also known as a home energy assessment — determines how energy-efficient your home is and gives you a detailed picture of your household's energy usage. It can also help you identify less efficient areas and find ways to save energy and make your home more comfortable.
Most homeowners hire a professional home energy auditor to conduct the audit. Calling the pros is often the best option because they'll have the specialized equipment required to generate accurate efficiency assessments. A professional auditor has the knowledge to recommend repairs and upgrades to improve your home's efficiency. However, the U.S. Department of Energy also issues instructions for DIY home energy audits if you're on a tighter budget.
A home energy audit can help you save money on your energy bills. Furthermore, the DOE recommends conducting an energy audit before installing a renewable energy system, such as solar panels.
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A professional home energy audit includes a thorough visual inspection of each room inside your home. The auditor may use several tests to assess your home's efficiency, such as blower door tests. This test involves mounting a temporary fan to an exterior door designed to suck air from inside the house, reducing the air pressure. The auditor can then identify areas, such as cracks or window frames, that allow air to reenter your home and increase the pressure.
Other tests include using an infrared camera to detect missing insulation or a nontoxic smoke pencil to find air leaks. Most auditors also scrutinize energy bills to identify usage patterns and test the efficiency of your furnace.
Following the inspection, your auditor may make home improvement recommendations. These could include:
- Replacing or installing insulation to prevent energy loss
- Fixing or replacing heating and cooling systems to make them more energy-efficient
- Repairing damp or moldy building materials
- Making your home more airtight by carrying out air sealing
- Installing energy-efficient upgrades, such as EnergyStar appliances or solar energy systems
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According to data from Fixr, hiring a professional to conduct a home energy audit costs $250 on average, though you might pay somewhere in the range of $145 to $420. The size of your home is one of the most significant factors in determining how much a home energy audit costs.
You should expect to pay between 8 cents and 50 cents per square foot for a professional home energy audit. For example, auditing a 2,000-square-foot home typically costs between $160 and $1,000.
You may be wondering why the cost range is so broad for home energy audits, and it all comes down to the type of audit. There are three energy audit levels defined by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
A Level 1 ASHRAE audit is the most basic (and least expensive) type of home energy audit. It mainly relies on visual inspections and doesn't usually involve extensive testing. For that reason, a Level 1 audit is only suitable for smaller dwellings using limited energy. Expect to pay between 8 cents and 24 cents per square foot.
Level 2 ASHRAE audits are more in-depth and often require testing equipment, such as blower doors. The auditor generally produces a detailed recommendation list with savings projections for each suggested home repair or upgrade. Level 2 audits are suitable for larger homes and cost between 25 cents and 35 cents per square foot on average.
Finally, a Level 3 ASHRAE audit is the most detailed option. However, you won't usually need a Level 3 inspection for a residential property, as it's more suitable for large, complex business premises. If your auditor recommends a Level 3 audit, expect to spend up to 50 cents per square foot.
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