Building inspection Tips for evaluating a home’s energy efficiency

When purchasing a home, it’s crucial to look beyond the aesthetics of energy efficiency. An energy-efficient home carbon footprint also saves you money on utility bills in the long run. Proper insulation is the foundation of an energy-efficient home. During a building inspection, pay close attention to the quality and thickness of insulation in the walls, attic, and crawl spaces. Look for any gaps, compress insulation, or signs of moisture damage. Adequate insulation helps maintain stable indoor temperature heating and cooling systems.

  • Examining windows and doors

Windows and doors play a significant role in a home’s energy efficiency. Inspect the condition of the frames, seals, and weather stripping. Look for any cracks, gaps, or signs of deterioration that could allow air leakage. Double-paned windows with low-E coatings and argon gas fillings provide better insulation than single-paned windows. Additionally, check if the windows and doors are properly installed and aligned to ensure a tight seal.

  • Evaluating the heating and cooling systems

The efficiency of a home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system directly impacts energy consumption. During the inspection, assess the age, condition, and maintenance history of the HVAC units. Look for ENERGY STAR-certified systems, as they meet strict energy efficiency guidelines. Consider the ductwork as well, checking for any leaks, disconnections, or poor insulation that could lead to energy loss.

  • Investigating air leakage

Air leakage is a common culprit of energy inefficiency. During the inspection, look for any gaps or cracks around electrical outlets, light fixtures, and plumbing penetrations. Pay attention to the condition of the weather-stripping around doors and windows. A simple way to detect air leaks is to hold a lit incense stick near potential problem areas and observe if the smoke wavers, indicating air movement.

  • Checking the water heating system

Water heating accounts for a portion of a home’s energy consumption. Evaluate the age, condition, and insulation of the water heater during the inspection. Look for any signs of corrosion, leaks, or insufficient insulation around the tank and pipes. Consider the efficiency rating of the water heater, with higher ratings indicating better energy performance Source.

  • Examining lighting fixtures

Lighting plays a role in a home’s energy efficiency. During the inspection, take note of the type of light bulbs used throughout the property. LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient option, followed by compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Check if the light fixtures are properly sealed and insulated to prevent air leakage. Additionally, consider the presence of natural light sources, such as skylights or large windows, for artificial lighting during the day.

  • Assessing appliances and electronics

Appliances and electronics contribute to a home’s overall energy consumption. During the inspection, check the age and energy ratings of major appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines. Look for ENERGY STAR labels, which indicate that the appliances meet strict energy efficiency standards. Consider the presence of smart home technology programmable thermostats or energy monitoring systems to optimize energy usage.

  • Considering renewable energy options

While not essential, the presence of renewable energy systems affects a home’s energy efficiency. During the inspection, look for solar panels, wind turbines, and heating systems. These renewable energy sources reliance on grid electricity and lower energy costs in the long run. If such systems are present, inquire about their age, maintenance records, and energy production capacity.

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