June 12, 2014

An energy audit is an assessment of your home’s overall energy efficiency and gives you a guide to making improvements that will lower your cooling and heating bills. These audits take into account your home’s insulation levels, air infiltration rates, and locations, and may include an assessment of your HVAC system’s ductwork efficiency.

Licensed energy auditors and HVAC contractors can provide these audits and the most accurate tools to use to measure home efficiency include a blower door, combined with thermographic or infrared cameras. The blower door is an adjustable metal door that sits inside an exterior door opening. It has a large fan at its base and pressure gauges indicate the air pressure.

Once the auditing team has readied your home, they turn the fan on and measure how fast and far the air pressure in your home falls. The fan pulls the air out and if the pressure falls quickly, it means your home has few air leaks. Air pressure that drops slowly indicates ample air infiltration into your home.

While the fan is running, the auditors use the thermographic equipment during the energy audit to identify the leaks. They may find them around window frames, electric outlets on exterior walls, recessed lights that protrude into the attic, or any of your home’s infrastructure that enters or leaves through the walls or attic.

Once the auditors finish the blower door test, they can use the thermographic devices to see where attic and wall insulation are inadequate. If the audit includes ductwork testing, you’ll learn if and how much your ducts leak.

Most air leaks are easy to seal with caulk, expanding foam, weatherstripping or metal flashing. Increasing insulation in the attic is fairly easy, although you may need a contractor to add loose-fill wall insulation. Ductwork leaks need to be sealed with mastic or metal tape. Duct tape is a temporary solution whose adhesive is short-lived.

If you’re concerned about high energy bills this summer, learn more about an energy audit by contacting Wolff Mechanical. We’ve provided trusted HVAC services in the Phoenix metro area since 1990.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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