Why a home needs an energy audit

This heating season, you probably want to save money on energy use while still providing comfortable living conditions.

While you might see utility costs rising thanks to the winter’s cold snap affecting much of the country, that might not be the only reason for rising statements. You might find your home’s HVAC system is always running hard but can’t adequately heat your home. Or maybe some rooms in your house are cooler or hotter than others. Maybe you noticed a mold or mildew problem in a room other than the bathroom. You can help find and begin solving these problems with a home energy audit.

Conway Corporation’s Energy Smart program offers free residential energy audits to help customers identify how much energy their homes consume and what measures may be taken to make their homes more energy efficient. The analysis will show a homeowner problems that may, when corrected, save significant amounts of money over time. A home energy audit is the first step to assess how much energy your home consumes while evaluating what measures can be taken to make a home more energy efficient.

How does a home energy audit work?

During the audit process, a Conway Corporation certified energy professional will perform a walk-through inspection of the home, using a variety of techniques and equipment to determine its energy-efficiency level. The inspection will help you understand the efficiency level of the home’s heating and cooling systems, look at how windows and doors seal, inspect insulation levels, show ways to conserve electricity and help identify leaks in the home.

An energy audit looks at several specific features of a home including its thermal envelope: walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows and skylights. Each of these has a specific R-value, which is a measurement of the resistance to heat flow. The higher the resistance – or R-value – the better the insulation quality. Another factor is the leakage rate or how much outside air infiltrates the home. Drafty doors and windows are the primary culprits here; however, other features of a home’s construction including age, orientation to the sun and physical condition will have an effect. A third area to look at is a home’s mechanical system – the heating/ventilation/air condition as well as the heating water.

Annually, homes that have received a free audit from Energy Smart save $148,000 combined in utility costs. Over the lifetime of the program, these homes have saved more than $2.6 million. Some solutions are simple and inexpensive. For example, a $4 tube of caulk might save $100 in energy costs. Other improvements might be more expensive but can be done over time like installing efficient low-wattage lighting fixtures, adding insulation or upgrading to Energy Star rated appliances.

In addition to the residential audit program, Energy Smart also offers 0 percent interest loans to Conway Corporation customers for home improvements like replacing old appliances or installing attic insulation. The loan program, funded by the City of Conway through the American Recovery Act of 2009, is available to Conway Corporation customers only. Although there are no income limits, applicants must have a good credit history with Conway Corporation. Loans are available between $500-2,500 and are repayable over a 36-month period.

An energy audit this winter will show you where to start saving money to heat a home and it will help identify cooling problems that could potentially cost you during the hot summer months too. Schedule a free energy audit today to identify areas for a home’s improvements and develop a plan of action.

To learn more about residential energy audits, the 0 percent interest loan program or the Energy Smart program, contact Conway Corporation at 501.450.6000 or visit conwaycorp.com and click on the Energy Smart quick link.