Do you know your home’s energy rating? Not many people are aware that their home can receive an energy rating which measures its overall energy performance. A lot of us might measure our home’s energy performance by comparing changes in energy bills over time, but this is not an accurate method. A home energy rating is a nationally accepted method of determining your home’s energy efficiency so that adjustments can be made for energy conservation and savings.
The Home Energy Rating System (HERS)
The HERS index assigns a numerical rating to your home that expresses efficiency based on a set of widely accepted criteria. The HERS index is assigned by a certified Home Energy Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) Rater. These ratings are often utilized by new home builders to promote the efficiency of their houses. However, a home energy rating can also be useful to the owner of any existing house, as well.
- Your home’s score on the HERS rating gives you an accurate snapshot of its present efficiency. You will be better able to understand the reason for high energy costs, indoor air quality challenges, or why your HVAC system seems ineffective.
- The HERS rating also empowers you with the information you need to target home improvement efforts. You can prioritize needed repairs and upgrades to address major issues first.
- If you plan to sell your house, a favorable score on the HERS index is a powerful sales tool. It assures prospective buyers that the home meets well-defined, universally accepted standards for efficiency and performance and helps to command a higher market value.
HERS vs Home Energy Audits
HVAC companies often conduct energy audits. Energy audits are different from the HERS index mainly because of the rating process. Energy audits primarily identify areas in which your home might be susceptible to energy loss. The examinations used to determine the ratings are similar to those conducted during a professional home energy audit:
- The home’s envelope, including the ceiling, roof, all exterior walls, and floors above unconditioned spaces such as a basement or crawl space, are checked for air leaks. Air leakage may be assessed by a blower door test which depressurizes the house to clearly identify sources of leaks.
- The quality and amount of insulation in exterior walls and ceilings is also checked to ensure it is sufficient to meet the home’s heating and cooling needs.
- Windows and doors are examined for energy performance including the level of solar heat gain via windows, and whether windows and doors are properly sealed.
- Your HVAC system will be tested for its level of efficiency in heating and cooling. Both the energy auditor and the Home Energy Rater will assess the size of the unit to confirm that BTU capacity is appropriate for the home.
- Ducts are checked for overall integrity and signs of leakage. Leaky ducts will need to be either repaired or replaced as any leak will prevent air from flowing properly through the system.
- The types of lighting and bulbs used are evaluated. The move has been toward energy efficient lighting and bulbs including CFL and LED bulbs which can save you as much as $75 each year.
- Major appliances can also put a drain on your budget if they are not energy-efficient. Appliances such as your refrigerator, washing machine, and dryer, generally use a lot of energy. It is best to invest in appliances that have an Energy Star Label, which indicates higher levels of efficiency so you can save more.
- You will need to be able to give assessors information about your household such as occupancy, and use of electronics and the HVAC system. Recent utility bills will also be important in the assessment.
If your HVAC company does not perform home energy audits, at the very least your HVAC technician will be able to provide advice regarding the efficiency of your HVAC system, and how it affects your overall energy performance. Heating and cooling costs and account for a significant portion of your energy bill, and so it is very important to understand how to improve the efficiency of this very important system.
United Air Conditioning has been providing air conditioning and heating service to the Tampa Bay area since 1961. Our time in this region and our experience in the HVAC industry mean we fully understand the unique heating and cooling needs of this area, and the additional factors that can impact our home’s energy performance. Contact us today at 727-470-6803 for more information about your HVAC systems energy performance and how it can affect your home’s energy rating.
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