Home energy audits could help baffled homeowners

Homeowners could benefit from the services of a professional who can conduct a home energy audit on their residence.

When I look to tackle a home maintenance project, I usually go about it in a very structured way, ruling out every possible cause before finally narrowing down the source of the trouble. As a result, when a manual thermostat or air conditioner's problems seem to be better explained by the presence of ghosts than any rational answer, I can get pretty frustrated.

In particular, my wife recently recalled an instance last winter when I flew into a rage at the utility company. Despite my rigorous efforts to keep my home temperatures consistent, my heating bills went up an alarming amount – without any major changes to our habits.

That's when a friend of mine suggested that I consider scheduling a home energy audit with a professional. While I normally like to consider myself a professional and have tried to tackle this audit on my own, it seemed that in this instance, I was a little out of my league with the problems at hand.

Using infared cameras and blower doors – a lesser known machine that records the extent of leaks in a building envelope – this professional was able to find a number of leaks and cracks I wasn't catching with the naked eye. If you're looking to find professionals in your area, you can rest assured: many are likely available.

"We always have an energy counselor available to answer that phone Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m." DuWayne Dunham, an energy counselor team leader for Clark Public Utilities, a customer-owned utility service provider, told the Washington state news source The Columbian. "Many times we can address concerns and answer specific questions right on the phone so customers can begin to make changes right away."

As a result, homeowners may want to rely on these professionals for a last line of defense that could help them ensure their homes for the coming summer months, when air conditioning costs may be a concern.

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