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Mar 20
home energy assessment

What is a Home Energy Assessment?

An in-home energy audit helps homeowners better understand their energy usage holistically. A few of the home energy assessment functions include how much energy your home uses, where your home is losing the most power, and where to implement energy-saving opportunities. The end goal with these home energy efficiency assessments is to improve the overall energy efficiency of your home and to find money-saving opportunities.

Can I Do A Home Energy Assessment Myself?

With the right equipment, knowledge, and necessary research, homeowners could conduct their home energy assessments. However, to those that are unfamiliar with energy audits, there remains a chance for error or overlooking energy-saving opportunities. 

Professional Home Energy Assessment

Using municipal guidelines and experience to guide them, home energy assessment specialists have a greater understanding of how all elements of your home play into overall energy expenditures. Alpha Environmental energy auditors in Portland, Oregon consider the weather, the home’s insulation, wall temperature, attic inspection/insulation, water heater functionality, air duct quality, and much more. While it is theoretically possible for any regular homeowner to do this, most would not know where to look or what to look for. With Alpha Environmental Services, we use specific metrics and templates to compile the data gathered from around your home into a comprehensive map. From this, the specialist gets an idea of where your energy vampires live.

Why Would I Need One?

If you have been noticing an increase in your electricity bill, the problem usually stems from electronic appliances and A/C systems. To be more specific, the older and bigger your electric appliances, the more energy it is consuming. One example is the Plasma Television. Plasma televisions consume an average of 0.225 kilowatts per hour. While that decimal may seem small if you multiply the monthly American average for hours of television usage (120 hours) and an average cent rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour, you get…

0.225 kilowatts x 120 hours = 27 total kilowatts per month

27 total kilowatts per month x $0.13 per kilowatt-hour = $3.51

At an annual rate, your overall energy spends on just one plasma television is an astounding $42.12 per year. There are even more variables to take into account. For instance, how many other TVs are in your home? What about devices that stay on overnight such as microwaves and refrigerators? When you multiply everything up, you quickly discover just how many things play a factor in your energy consumption.

Energy-saving opportunities can be found just about everywhere in your home. High energy-spending utilities such as your A/C system, digital devices, lighting, and washing/dryer machines can warrant a deep-dive look into your home’s average daily expenditure.

Appliances

 Average Consumption of Kilowatt per Day 

 Cost Per Kilowatt Hour ($0.13 per kWh) 

Air Conditioning/Heat Pump  

15 $1.95

Dryer & Washer

4

$0.52

Water Pump

3

$0.39

Electric Burner/Stove

1.5 – 3

$0.19 – $0.39

Computers

0.4

$0.05

Incandescent light bulb x45

3

$0.35

Total 27.71 KiloWatts $3.62 per Kilowatt Hour


Note
: According to CBS News, the average household in the United States sockets around 45 light blubs, per household, hence the (x45).

Air Conditioning/Heating Pump

With HVAC systems, homeowners who practice energy efficiency, such as tuning their thermostat to 76 degrees, installing a digital thermostat, and maintaining their systems, can save up to 10% on their total daily cost.

Dryer & Washer

Dryers and washers, on average, are used 20 times each. Using two high-powered machines to wash and dry dirty clothes can run up your electricity bill over an annual term. Homeowners can begin to cold wash for laundry, use dryer balls, high-spin extended cycle washes, and even air-drying clothes can save on their energy bill over the coming months.

Water Pump

Most homes come with an adjustable water pump. When taking a shower, setting the maximum heat to no more than 110 degrees can reduce overall cost without sacrificing the feeling that comes with a nice shower.

Electric Burners/Stove Tops

The kitchen stovetop can also cost homeowners more money. Utilizing less overall cooking time through pre-prepared meals, investing in higher-quality cookware, and cleaning the stovetop often will result in reduced energy expenditure and more savings.

Computers

On an average of 6 hours a day, computers with monitors and towers can consume up to 1.2 kilowatts. When taking a break, set your computer on sleep mode. Incrementally, reduced-power consumption will build up to healthy money-saving opportunities.

Incandescent Light Blubs

Most homes with incandescent lightbulbs consume more overall energy than the new and improved Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lightbulbs that are now available. Replacing your home’s lightbulbs from incandescent lights to LED lights will provide substantial lighting while also reducing overall power consumption. 

When Should I Call for a Home Energy Assessment?

Insulation & Inconsistent Temperatures

A good time to call home energy assessment specialists is when you begin to notice insulation issues throughout your home. Here are a few ways to discover any insulation issues within your home.

The Wall Touch Method

    • If you notice that the weather outside is cold, touch your walls to check if it is relatively warm. If not, you may have an insulation issue.

Under the same vein, homeowners may notice a difference in temperatures throughout the home. On an unusually cold day, you may find your living and bedrooms to be cozy and warm, but your bathrooms are freezing. This is a sure-fire sign that insulation throughout your home is inconsistent.

High Energy Bills

Due to sub-par insulation and inconsistent temperatures, you may find that your energy bills have increased drastically. This can be traced to your A/C system overclocking its work, trying to keep the interior of your home warm or cool.

Other Notable Signs

  • House is older than 50 years old
  • Windows and doors rattle during mild-heavy winds
  • Breezes manage to slip through your windows, doors, and thresholds into your home
  • Condensation on your walls and windows
  • Strange smells from possible air leaks

Need a Home Energy Assessment?

Getting qualified professionals to assess your home’s energy needs is paramount to saving money and improving the comfort quality of your home. The specialists in Alpha Environmental are ready, willing, and able to assess your home’s energy efficiency. Learn more about Alpha Environmental’s home energy assessment services, practices, and consultation.

Matthew Micheletty

About The Author

Matthew has been Alpha's Director of Operations for over four years. He works directly with our clients in effort to provide exceptional customer service as well as managing the day to day of the company. When he's not at the office, you can find him at Red Tail Golf Club or cruising PDX in one of his project cars.