The Low Down on Whole House Evaluation

Sometimes called an energy audit, a whole house evaluation is essentially a complete inspection of a home’s heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system, done to check for and correct problems and inefficiencies.

A whole house evaluation can identify any problem areas which can make your home more comfortable and save you more energy in the long run. But what does it consist of exactly? And is it a worthwhile investment? This post is designed to answer these very questions.

What’s Involved in an Evaluation?

As you would expect from the name, a whole house evaluation is comprehensive look at the HVAC system in your home on a number of fronts. A thorough whole house evaluation will consist of most or all of the following components:

  • Inspecting equipment, such as furnace, ducts and air conditioners for mechanical or other problems.
  • Examining insulation. The EPA has estimated that proper insulation can account for a savings of up to 10% on home energy costs.
  • Load calculation, or calculating the amount of heat gained and lost in the home, can identify systems that have lost efficiency or are the wrong size and may need to be replaced.
  • Measuring air flow out from air conditioning ducts around the home to see if they are optimally arranged and configured.
  • Testing for improper ventilation – wither too much or too little air flow in and out of the home – can help improve air quality and overall comfort.

Should You Get an Evaluation?

It is possible you may not need to have your HVAC system evaluated. If it is a new, properly sized, properly installed system, then everything may be fine. However, it is estimated that up to half of all HVAC systems are the wrong size for the home in which they are installed, and the EPA reportsthat errors in installation can reduce a system’s efficiency by as much as 30%. To determine whether you may need an evaluation, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my home often too warm or too cold?
  • Do my utility bills seem extraordinarily high?
  • Is the air in my home too humid or too dry?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” or if you or your family members have been experiencing respiratory problems, a whole house evaluation may help.

What Should I Do Before an Evaluation?

Before your house evaluation there are a few things you should do to make sure that you are fully prepared:

  • If you have a problems like uneven heating or drafty rooms, make a list so you can be sure to have those concerns addressed.
  • You should also see if you can find copies of your energy bills. This will help determine exactly how much energy you are using compared to more efficient houses.
  • Be prepared to answer some relevant questions such as your average thermostat setting and the hours people are home. This is a good way to get a jump start on your home evaluation; you might find easy ways to save energy just by examining your behavior.

Saving energy is good for the environment and your wallet; a whole house evaluation might be a good investment to make this holiday season.

Pat writes for the HVAC industry, including Tampa air conditioning and heating contractor Air National, specializing DIY and energy saving HVAC tips.

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