When it comes to your home, you have many options for handling problems. You can mask issues by treating the symptoms, such as cranking up the thermostat to make a drafty home feel warmer. Or, you can get to the heart of the problem, pinpointing exactly what is going on and taking steps to fix it.
The first step toward a more energy-efficient and comfortable home is scheduling an energy consultation. During it, an energy consultant will evaluate your home’s equipment, the condition of the home and the size of the home. After your consultation, you can begin doing what the consultant recommends.
What Is an Energy Consultation?
A home energy consultation gives you a big-picture look at how your home uses energy and allows you to choose the equipment that will best meet your needs. After the consultation, you will have an idea of what areas to focus on improving first and where to make changes to help you save money and lower your total energy costs.
A professional energy consultation is thorough. During the consultation, the energy consultant will measure your home and ask you about your habits, such as if you work outside the home during the day or if people remain in the house throughout the day. The consultant will also ask about the number of people living in the house and your temperature preferences.
After the energy consultation, the certified and trained technician will make recommendations to help you improve your home. They might suggest sealing leaks, upgrading your home’s equipment and making changes to certain habits. They can also make recommendations about the type of equipment to install to help lower your energy costs and improve your home’s comfort.
6 Reasons to Get an Energy Consultation
The benefits of an energy consultation can be numerous. You will gain the information you need to make changes to your home that will lower its energy costs and improve your comfort. A consultation can also help you pinpoint specific problems or areas of concern in the home and focus on correcting them. Some of the reasons to schedule an energy consultation include the following.
1. Improve Your Home Appliances
The HVAC system or other heating and cooling equipment might have come with the house when you bought it. Have you ever considered whether or not the equipment is right for your home? It is sometimes the case that a furnace or air conditioner is too large for the size of the house or too small. An improperly sized appliance will struggle to do its job well. For example, an oversized furnace is likely to cycle on and off more frequently than a correctly-sized furnace, meaning it will expend more energy over the course of a day or the course of a season.
It could also be that the appliances in your home are well past the prime of their life. An air conditioner that is over 10-years-old, for instance, is going to be considerably less efficient than a new model.
During your energy consultation, a NATE-certified technician will examine your home’s heating and cooling equipment and assess whether it is the right size for the property. The technician will also evaluate the age and the condition of your home’s appliances. Depending on how old your heating and cooling systems are, they might recommend replacing them. Although getting a new furnace, boiler or air conditioner will involve an upfront cost, you can save money over time thanks to reduced energy bills and lower repair costs.
Another part of helping you improve your home’s appliances is helping you see which areas are worth focusing on first. The consultant will make recommendations to you on the repairs and replacements to perform first, based on which changes are likely to have the biggest impact on your home.
2. Make Your Home Safer
Your home can become safer following a consultation. Heating systems that use fossil fuels, such as heating oil or gas, as their source of fuel also produce carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and poisonous. If your furnace produces too much of it, it can make you and others in your household sick. During an energy consultation, the technician will inspect your heating equipment and determine if it is in proper working order. They will also inspect the chimney and vents to make sure they are venting properly, minimizing the chance of carbon monoxide build-up in the home.
Since you cannot smell or see carbon monoxide, installing a carbon monoxide detector is essential. Your energy consultant can recommend the most appropriate locations in your home for a detector and can help you choose one to install.
Along with helping to minimize the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, a home energy consultation can also help you ensure your heating and cooling systems and equipment are operating safely and that there are no safety hazards or risks present. For example, having textiles or other combustible items near your furnace can increase the risk of a fire in the home. Your energy consultant can evaluate your home and recommend changes to make it safer.
3. Reduce Your Environmental Impact
An energy consultation lets you see where energy is being wasted in your home and also gives you tools and options to lower your energy use. Both factors can help you reduce the carbon footprint of your home, minimizing your overall environmental impact. Becoming more energy-efficient at home is an eco-friendly option for a few reasons.
First, the fuel you might use to heat your home can contribute to increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” trap heat in the atmosphere, contributing to warming. Reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can help to slow down the rate of warming.
Improving the energy efficiency of your home can also lower rates of air pollution, allowing you and your family to breathe easier, both indoors and out. Often, heating and cooling equipment lose efficiency when not properly maintained. HVAC systems typically have air filters built-in, which can remove dust and debris. When those filters become full or clogged, the system needs to work harder to heat or cool the home. A clogged air filter can also make it more likely for dust and other irritants to make their way into the home, affecting the indoor air quality. During an energy consultation, a technician can help you decide the best schedule for replacing or cleaning your system’s air filters to improve efficiency and air quality.
4. Lower Your Energy Bills
An energy-efficient home is a more affordable home. Making upgrades to your heating and cooling equipment, changing your habits or sealing off air leaks in your home as a result of your energy consultation can reduce your home energy bills significantly.
Another way an energy consultation can help to lower your bills is by providing you with the information you need to make changes to your habits at home. For example, if you typically leave the thermostat set to the same temperature whether anyone is home or not, having the last person to leave the house for the day lower the thermostat by a few degrees can reduce your energy bills. Installing a programmable or smart thermostat, which will adjust the temperature for you based on a schedule, is another way to reduce your energy costs.
Finally, as a result of your energy consultation, you will learn the most cost-effective and useful changes you can make to reduce your energy costs.
5. Increase the Resale Value of Your Home
Homes that are energy-efficient are more appealing to home buyers than homes that are not. Depending on the market and your home’s overall condition, increasing its energy efficiency can mean it sells for up to 20% more than a home without energy-conscious improvements.
If you have an energy consultation and make changes to your home as a result of it, you can advertise those changes and upgrades when you list the property. Some of the features that might be worth mentioning include improved insulation, programmable or smart thermostats and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems.
One of the reasons why an energy-efficient home is likely to be more valuable than a less efficient home is that it reduces the burden on the home buyer. While some people might be in the market for a fixer-upper, many people want to purchase a house that is move-in ready and that they will not have to put much effort into fixing up. They are willing to pay more for the convenience of a pre-existing ENERGY STAR furnace or for a home that is already air-sealed and insulated.
6. Increase the Comfort of Your Home
Your home should be your place of refuge and comfort. If you have spent the colder months of the year shivering indoors, even when the thermostat says it is 68 degrees or if you find yourself sweltering in the summer, despite the air conditioner running full-blast, an energy consultation will help you get to the bottom of the issue and allow you to increase the comfort of your home.
Along with improving the temperature of your home, the results of an energy consultation can help you improve other areas that affect comfort, such as indoor air quality and humidity. Along with upgrading your heating and cooling systems, you might find that the time is also right to install an air cleaner to purify the air indoors. Depending on the moisture and humidity levels in your home, it might make sense to install a humidifier or dehumidifier as well. A dehumidifier can be ideal if your energy consultation reveals mold or other moisture-related damage, while a humidifier can be an option if the air in your home is very dry.
Schedule an Energy Consultation With SMO Energy Today
If you are ready to improve your home’s comfort, lower your energy bills and make your house more energy-efficient, SMO Energy can help. We offer free, in-home energy consultations to residents of Southern Maryland. During a consultation, one of our NATE-certified technicians will visit you in your home. They will take measurements and chat with you about your habits and what you are hoping to get from your home’s heating and cooling equipment and other appliances. From there, our technicians will be able to recommend the most appropriate equipment for your home based on your needs and goals.
If you are ready to schedule your consultation or would like more details, contact us today.