An energy audit is one of the best ways to determine the most cost effective measures for reducing energy bills. Energy audits can locate areas where energy is wasted and can determine the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems. Energy audits vary in complexity. You can perform a simple audit yourself by examining your home for obvious leaks or ensuring that appliances work efficiently. More information about do-it-yourself audits can be obtained from The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse (EREC) (see the Source List on page 8 of this publication).
More thorough audits can be conducted by “house doctors,” who usually work in teams using special equipment such as blower doors, infrared cameras, furnace efficiency instruments, and surface thermometers. This equipment allows them to find inefficiencies that a visual inspection could not detect. House doctors also analyze previous energy bills and implement some energy efficiency measures at the time of the audit. This type of energy audit, however, may be relatively expensive.
Some utilities offer energy audits for free or for a nominal charge. The extent of these audits varies. Auditors from utilities may or may not use special equipment such as blower doors and infrared cameras, and they may or may not check the performance of your heating system.