For home energy efficiency professionals, the Home Energy Audit and HERS rating can open the door to opportunities. The full audit can show your client where they need improvements. And then you can provide the services or refer them to the appropriate contractor.
The professional home audit is the "go-to" for homes that are being bought or sold. But what about that client that insists they don't need a professional to do a home audit? You still have an opportunity to work with them. Give them guidance to do a DIY Home Energy Audit. By doing so, you will earn their trust, and earn the opportunity for additional work.
ElectricityPlans.com, an online shopping site for electricity in deregulated markets, has created just such a resource. It includes instructions on how to complete a basic home energy audit, plus a free downloadable energy audit checklist.
The DIY Home Energy Audit covers many of the same things a professional audit covers:
HVAC is one of the biggest opportunities for home improvement, as it drives 50%+ of the electricity bill. Consumers should review their air filter replacement schedule, check the age of their HVAC system (replace every 15-20 years), and check their air ducts to look for holes, mold and moisture.
Next up, air leaks. Homeowners should check for air leaks around baseboards and the edge of flooring, electrical outlets, windows and doors, recessed lights, and fireplaces. Those with gas appliances that are retrofits need to check where the gas line was added -- there may be a gap around the gas line that's allowing air penetration. Simple caulking and replacement weatherstripping can address most of these air leaks.
In addition to sealing a home, the home has to breathe as well, which brings us to ventilation. Any exhaust fans (bathroom and kitchen) need to have the covers removed and cleaned. Laundry dryer hoses (lint trap) need to be cleaned out to avoid a fire hazard, and to keep the dryer running efficiently. Home owners need to ensure they have attic ventilation. Homeowners should check the attic for evidence of moisture, rot and humidity. Any of these mean that additional ventilation is needed.
While in the attic, the owner needs to check for insulation. Insulation should fill (and overfill) the space between the attic joists. Many homeowners don't check, or assume that the original insulation is good enough. Homeowners should also check the type of insulation in their walls, by removing a wall socket (turn off the power first) to check. They can calculate the R-value of their current insulation and see what the US Government recommends by using online resources.
A DIY Home Energy Audit Checklist allows your homeowner client to review all these items and more. Then review the checklist with them to prioritize the projects that will make their home more energy efficient.
This approach is a win/win for you and your client. They can save money on a professional home energy audit, you become their hero for suggesting the DIY version, and you can be their trusted adviser on the necessary repairs.