Google+ House Revivals: The Three Best Reasons to Have an Energy Audit Done on Your Home

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Three Best Reasons to Have an Energy Audit Done on Your Home

Earlier this year we had an energy audit done on our beach house.  This was pretty much the coolest thing ever!

If you have never had this done, I would encourage you to look into it!   We had three reasons for doing the audit:

  • We wanted our family to be more comfortable.
  • We wanted our space to be more energy efficient.
  • We wanted to lower our utility bills.

We felt, if we could address all three of those desires by acting on information gained through an audit, the cost of the audit would be well worth it!

First of all, let's talk about comfort. It doesn't matter how pretty your home decor is, if your house is not comfortable, people won't want to be there! We want our friends and our loved ones to be comfortable in our homes. In our case, our beach house is in the Pacific Northwest, so we don't really need to worry about being too warm -- even in the summertime.  Our summertime temps and weather are near perfect.

Half the year we play in the sand and have beach 
bonfires and the livin' is easy. 

The winters, however, are a different story.  

It rains. It rains buckets. Every. Single. Day. We go months without seeing the sun. The wind blows. It blows hard. And blows. And blows. And blows. While it rarely gets below freezing, it still gets pretty cold, and it's a damp cold -- the kind of cold that chills you to your bones.  Especially when that damp cold air finds a path into your house!  Did you see all those windows in the picture above?  The entire west side of the house has those wonderful windows to enjoy the view, but boy, they sure can make a space cold!

We've done lots of renovations, including insulation and new windows, on the east side of our beach house, but the west side -- the weather side-- is still largely all original... and we've been really, really cold inside our house in the wintertime.  Every time we turned on our heat pump, it felt like we were just blowing our money right out those banks of windows -- and we were! We knew we needed to address the energy efficiency of the house, but we didn't want to throw good money after bad. We wanted to put our money and our time and our resources where we would get the most benefit.  We needed to do our research and invest thoughtfully.

We were spending enormous amounts of money heating the house -- and we are only there a few days a week! We spend much of the work week in the city, but we still need to keep the house heated to keep it dried out.  If you shut down your heat in the winter time on the Pacific Northwest coast, the
Moisture. Will. Win.  
Every month, when I paid my bills, I basically just gave our Public Utilities District all my money. I just handed it over. I probably should have just put their name on my bank account and saved the checks....

We decided to schedule a visit from an energy auditor.... 

... and it was worth every penny!  After the audit, we were sent a report describing exactly where our house fell short, and what steps the auditor recommended we take, and the order of importance. Of course, we learned that the west side of our house really leaks a lot, which we knew, but we also learned exactly where it leaked -- sneaky places like through the outlets and around the edges of our masonry fireplace!  Of course, it leaked in all the usual places, as well -- like around windows and doors.  And since our ceiling has exposed tongue and groove wood decking adjoining cedar walls, the ceiling and walls were never tightly sealed, as they might be with a drywall finish, so we had lots of cracks and crevices for warm air to leave and cold air to enter.  After getting the audit and the auditor's report, we know exactly which areas we need to address.

During the audit, our auditor asked us what we were hoping to achieve.  My answer?

  • We want our family to be more comfortable.
  • We want our space to be more energy efficient.
  • We want to lower our utility bills.
The auditor agreed that those were exactly the things we should be able to address when we received our report. Would I do an audit again?  Absolutely! Would I recommend an energy audit to all my friends? Definitely!  If you want your family to be more comfortable, your space to be more energy efficient, and your utility bills to be lower, you might think about getting an energy audit for your home!

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