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Your Home Energy Audit Guide

Posted on by Everything Energy 6 minutes, 19 seconds

Is your home’s energy usage as efficient as it could be? Hidden culprits may be causing you to use more energy than you need to — and forcing your monthly electricity bill higher than necessary. A home energy audit can help you identify and minimize these inefficiencies.

What is a home energy audit?

A home energy audit (also called a home energy assessment) is a thorough, room-by-room examination of how your home uses electricity. It identifies inefficiencies that you can address in order to conserve energy usage. Most audits provide you with a final assessment document for your records.

An energy audit is different than a home energy report. These reports, often mailed or emailed by your utility company, use your home and usage data to show how your energy use compares to that of your neighbors. They often include helpful tips like ways to save energy and how to make your home more energy efficient, but they’re not the result of an in-home evaluation.

How should I prepare for a home energy assessment?

The first step is to find a reputable home energy auditor in your area. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) suggests starting with this list to locate a certified auditor in your area.

Once you’ve found a reputable inspector and scheduled your energy efficiency audit, you can prepare for the appointment by:

What happens during a home energy audit?

In general, you can expect a certified home energy auditor to complete the following steps:

Some of the things a home energy auditor will look for include:

The blower door test

Since air leaks are a major contributor to energy inefficiency, the blower door test is an important aspect of a home energy audit.

This test checks how well a house keeps air from leaking in or out. The auditor uses a powerful fan mounted in a doorway to lower indoor air pressure. The difference in pressure causes the outside air to enter through cracks or holes. The auditor can detect this with a tool called a smoke pencil.

An infrared camera may also be used in the process to find air leaks. When used with a blower door test, air leaks show up as black streaks in the infrared images.

Will I get a report after the audit?

Yes. After your home assessor gathers information, they will give (or email) you a report. This report should include characteristics of your home and actions you can take to make it more energy efficient.

Some recommendations that might be in the report include:

Is a home energy audit worth it?

According to Energy Saver (the DOE’s consumer resource on saving energy at home), you could save between 5% and 30% on your monthly energy bill by making energy efficient upgrades identified in a home energy audit.

If your electricity bill is $150 per month, for example, that could equate to savings of $7.50 to $45 per month ($90 to $540 per year) after you make recommended upgrades. For potential savings like this, it could be well worth finding out what your home’s inefficiencies are so you can address them.

How much does an energy audit cost?

The cost of a home energy audit varies by your location, home size, auditor, tests performed, and other factors. It’s best to get quotes from certified local auditors in your area.

It’s also worth asking your utility and retail electricity provider if they offer customers free or discounted home energy audits.

Are there any tax credits for having a home energy assessment done?

Yes! The Inflation Reduction Act authorized the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Tax Credit. It provides an incentive for homeowners to obtain a home energy audit. Specifically, you can claim a 30% tax credit on the cost of a home energy audit, up to $150 per year.

Note the requirements to obtain the tax credit listed in IRS Notice 2023-59. One of the requirements is that the audit must be performed by or under the supervision of a Qualified Home Energy Auditor who is certified by one of the programs listed here.

Can I do a home energy audit myself?

If you prefer to roll up your sleeves instead of hiring a professional, you could conduct your own home energy audit. Here are five areas to start with:

Air leaks

Check for air leaks around doors, windows, gaps along the baseboard, and spaces where the walls and ceiling meet. For non-obvious drafts, try this trick: Turn off your HVAC system, light an incense stick or candle, and walk slowly around each room of your home. If the flame or smoke is suddenly disturbed by moving air, you can trace that draft back to the source.

HVAC system

A substantial percentage of a home’s energy consumption comes from space heating and air conditioning. Though it’s recommended to have your HVAC serviced regularly by a professional, you may be able to do the following on your own:

Attic insulation

The R-value of insulation measures its ability to resist heat traveling through it. To measure your attic insulation’s current R-value, EnergyStar.gov suggests multiplying the depth of your existing insulation in inches by 3. Then, find your location on their Recommended Insulation Levels map and consult the accompanying chart to find the recommended R-value for your home.

Attic ventilation

Don’t forget to ensure that any soffit, roof, or attic fan vents are not blocked by any insulation on the inside or any debris on the outside.


Make a note of all the light sources in your home that aren’t using LEDs, and the types of bulbs required. LEDs have a much longer lifespan and emit much less heat than incandescent and CFL bulbs.

For more information on performing a DIY home energy audit, check out this article from Direct Energy, and this Energy Saver guide.


It’s clear how valuable a home energy audit can be — especially if you take action to fix or upgrade problem areas. The results of a professional audit plus follow-up action may include a less expensive energy bill, a lower carbon footprint, a more comfortable home, and peace of mind as a homeowner. Those benefits make it a perfect time to find a home energy assessor in your area and make an appointment.

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