Is a Free Energy Audit Worth It?

blower test tool illustration
During an energy audit, you will have a blower test done on your house to determine how airtight your home really is. Photo: U.S. Department of Energy

 

Two Frugal Fairfielders have had their free energy audits, compliments of U.I. Was it worth it? We want to hear from you about your audit experiences, too. 

We think it was worth it because it was free. If we had to pay for the audit, we would have wanted a lot more time and information from the auditors. 

The bottom line: The experience is subjective based on your auditors and the information they offer. There are a number of companies doing these audits in Fairfield, we happened to have had auditors from Gulick. We know that there were a couple of articles in local papers, and through the phone number1-877-WISE-USE (877-947-3873), you could evidently find other auditors. 

Some of the information and insights from our auditors were obvious (use CFLs, low-flow shower heads, etc.). But, the main issue the auditors address is the decompression of your house, which allows them to find serious air leaks. 

The good news: the Gulick auditors give you some nice items, such as faucet aerators (some residents like them, so do not). To read more about faucet aerators, click here. They also replace some bulbs with CFLs if you don’t have them already. They add weather-stripping, foam insulation (bits of it, not whole walls) in holes, and caulking (but one of us can’t find where they actually caulked although they assured us they did “lots” of caulking). 

The best news: Decompression, or, the blower test. To read more on blower tests, click here. The simplest explanation is that they suck out air flow from your house so they can find leaks and determine how airtight your home really is. In one of our homes, they found major leaks coming from the two pull-down attic doors. (This explained why the master bedroom feels like a meat locker in winter even when the heat is turned on. Note: Without the blower test, we could not feel the whoosh of cold air, but with the blower test, it was painfully obvious.) The auditors added weather seal tape (looks like packing tape to us) to the door to seal off the whoosh of freezing cold air on the unused pull-down door. 

If you are going to have an audit, or want to schedule one, we will post a Part II with tips later today. You will definitely want to know these tips before your auditors come by.

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