Energy audit can save homeowners money on heating bills

Posted: 4:41 PM EST Feb 01, 2013   Updated: 5:28 PM EST Feb 01, 2013
Home energy audit

You know the drill -- the temperatures fall and your heating bill rises.  What if you could save big bucks on energy costs? It is possible?

In a home energy audit, your home is basically scrutinized with a fine-tooth comb to see where you can save money.

"The streaking you're seeing is the cold air coming and streaking down the wall. This is equivalent to a 20 mile per hour wind," said Bruce Snyder, a home inspector.

A fan-infused futuristic style door and a handheld infrared camera are not tools you'd pick up at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but they can save you big bucks.

"It's a process where we survey the house for its energy use and safety issues," said Ed Lehr, of Jack Lehr Heating and Cooling, who added that old and new homes can easily lose 20 percent to 25 percent of their energy, costing homeowners hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars a year.

"When the houses built holes are made for plumbing pipes, the wires and these holes all leak air," Lehr said.

An energy audit brings those problems to light. The outside and inside are picked apart with the most critical eye. Windows and doors are scrutinized, as are appliances, furnace. Even the attic isn't off limits.

The entire process takes four to seven hours, but a blower door saves you money. It's giant fan sucks all the cool air out, giving the infrared exact locations. Data is then entered, and a detailed chart shows just how much money you could be losing every month.

"We can see here the customer was spending somehow far more money then should be spending," Snyder explained.

The audit costs $500, but energy suppliers do offer partial rebates. You could save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year, but you do have to pay for fixes. So, this is more of a long-term investment.