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Close to home with Mary Beth Breckenridge

Don't let fear of failure keep you from getting a home energy audit

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: December 16, 2013

Have you had a home energy audit?

If not, what’s stopping you?

I hope it’s not fear of failure. That possibility never occurred to me till I read a newsletter from the folks at Michigan energy-auditing company Ecotelligent Homes. According to them, “My house is going to fail” is the top response they get when they talk to customers about energy audits.

But home energy audits aren’t about passing or failing. They’re about saving you money and making your home more comfortable.

What’s not to like about that?

In an energy audit, a professional goes through your home carefully to identify places where your house is losing heat and point out other ways you can trim your energy use.

The auditor typically depressurizes the house using a blower door, which is a giant fan installed in an exterior doorway. The blower door exaggerates the flow of air through all those little cracks and crevices in your house, making it easier for the auditor to find them.

At the end of the audit, you get a report on the issues found in your home as well as recommendations for fixing them. When I had an audit done, the auditor also provided an estimate on the cost of each project and a projection of how long it would take to recoup that money in energy savings. That made it easy for my husband and me to decide which changes were worth making and which were too expensive to be worthwhile.

We’d been pretty conscientious about making energy-saving improvements before the audit, so most of the changes at our house were cheap and quick to make – for example, caulking around window frames and sealing holes where pipes and wires come into the house.

Home energy audits can be surprisingly inexpensive. If you're a customer of either Dominion East Ohio or Ohio Edison, you can take advantage of those companies' discounted home energy audits.

Dominion contracts with GoodCents to offer audits for $50. You can read more about Dominion's Home Performance with Energy Star Program here.

Ohio Edison contracts with Honeywell to offer audits for $100. Read more about the program here.

You can also find energy auditors on the Residential Energy Services Network's website, on the federal government's Energy Star website (click on "Find Raters Serving Ohio") or in the Yellow Pages, under Energy Management & Conservation Consultants.

If you want to know more about what an energy audit is like, you can read my story about tagging along on an audit and a column I wrote when my own house was audited.

What are you waiting for? The only way you can fail is by not having an audit done.

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