Everything You Need to Know About a Pepco Home Energy Audit
Often times homeowners don't know what a Pepco energy audit is or how it can actually help with understanding more about your home.
This article breaks it all down for you and shows you how getting the audit done can really open your eyes to a few unexpected things!
For starters, a Pepco energy audit can help you avoid choosing the wrong solution to a problem around your home. An energy audit through Pepco is a good place to start a home improvement priority list.
It is also a great place to start if you want a more comfortable home!
Take the important step of scheduling your Pepco energy audit as soon as you can! It's a steal at $100!
Why Do You Need a Pepco Energy Audit?
A great way to significantly reduce energy waste is to tighten up the envelope of your house. When sealing is done properly your HVAC runs less, pests have a harder time getting in and you feel more comfortable. Knowing where to look and how to accomplish improving your "building's shell" is the central focus of a Pepco energy audit.
A Pepco energy auditor will investigate areas of your home that typically do not see much "daylight". It is the dark corners and small spaces that sometimes yield the most information. Getting a Pepco energy audit just to have a trained pro to check out the attic is well worth the small investment of $100!
What Kind of Service is a Pepco Energy Audit?
Not every contractor in Maryland qualifies to perform a Pepco energy audit. Improving your home's building shell tightness is not as simple as adding more insulation.
Energy auditors have to be certified as Building Analysts to identify what a house needs. Calculating the number of air changes per hour your house is leaking is part of a Pepco energy audit. You can see examples of interesting things we find tied to air leakage here.
A Pepco energy auditor evaluates your house as it stands now. The auditor accurately takes a "snapshot" of your home's energy performance.
Health and safety testing, pressure readings and an air leakage test are all data points needed to complete a Pepco energy audit. Other evaluations depend on age, symptoms and preexisting conditions.
What does a Pepco Energy Audit Test Around Your House?
Health & Safety Testing
There are several health and safety tests that are performed during a Pepco energy audit. You can expect the following:
- Combustion testing of any gas appliances
- Carbon monoxide testing
- Gas line leakage testing
Air Flow Testing
Ventilation is an important part of healthy living and must be part of the overall plan to improve efficiency.
- Measure exhaust fan ventilation speed
- Blower door testing
- Duct leakage testing
How Can a Pepco Energy Audit Give You a Check-In on Your Home's Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality is commonly misunderstood as a number calculated in particles. Instead, it refers to getting fresh air into a home.
A Pepco energy audit is a great way to determine what your indoor air quality "score" is and how to fix any deficits that may exist. A great way to figure out indoor air quality is to consider a common misconception.
A very good carpenter that works around houses every day once said to me during a discussion about air sealing a house:
"Well gee, don't you need to let the house breathe?"
This comment has a direct tie to indoor air quality. The answer is, YES, of course. But, what we need to discuss is the difference between uncontrolled and controlled "breathing".
A Pepco energy audit, with the use of sophisticated modeling software, calculates the required air changes per hour for each individual home that is inspected. A Pepco energy audit looks to tighten a building's shell, therefore calculations are made as the house stands now and projections are calculated if the house is tightened.
The great thing about the Pepco energy audit is that you can find out your indoor air quality status now without getting any additional work done. Some houses are too tight before any measures are taken and the occupants are happy to know there is a deficit and how to remedy the issue. An energy audit consistently delivers the options for solutions which gives the homeowner complete control.
What does a Pepco Energy Audit Look for on the Exterior of Your Home?
A walk around the perimeter of your home by a trained Pepco energy auditor is an important part of taking a whole house approach to remodeling. Uncovering issues that have gone unnoticed is an effective way to prioritize home remodeling projects.
For example, if there is a leak in the roof then it would not be wise to install attic insulation. Damage to the insulation can occur if water is infiltrating into the attic.
Other areas of importance are drainage around the home, land grading, foundation type and condition, siding, windows, doors, HVAC and trim. Looking at ventilation areas on the outside of the home will also help to prioritize home improvement projects.
How to Prepare for a Pepco Energy Audit
Pointing out comfort issues and other concerns to your Pepco energy auditor is an important part of the audit. This way proper time will be set aside to investigate your specific issue.
Here are the ways you can prepare and get the most out of your audit:
- Write down any comfort issues by season
- List any smells around the house you might have noticed
- Think about any changes to insulation you have made since living in the home
- Find out the age of you HVAC equipment
- If you have a wood burning fireplace, clean out the ashes before the Pepco energy audit
- Get a copy of your Pepco energy bill for the audit
- Carve out about four hours of your time to have the audit performed
- Clear any entrances to the attic, crawl space or other area that might need insulation and is hard to access
Download this one page Pepco energy audit prep checklist.
What Can You Expect from a Pepco Energy Audit?
If you had a Pepco energy audit or plan to get one, you should be able to identify with several if not all of the following take-aways:
- The technician explained the Pepco energy audit process
- You will know how much insulation you have and how much you need
- The technician answered all of your questions
- The technician showed you something that you did not realize about your home
- Parts of the Pepco energy audit were interactive
- You part ways with your auditor feeling smarter about energy waste and more in control
- A clear priority list begins to emerge with both wants and needs addressed
- At least one do-it-yourself tip that will make an immediate impact on your energy usage/comfort
- You remember the blower door test!
- You felt a leakage point somewhere inside your house
- Your home was left in the same way it was prior to the start of the Pepco energy audit!
These are all signs that you have had an excellent Pepco energy audit!
Who is Eligible for a Pepco Energy Audit?
In order to qualify for a Pepco energy audit, you must be receiving electric and/or natural gas service from Pepco.
The offer is not valid for new construction, multi-family dwellings or commercial buildings. The special $100 fee for the audit is also only valid for your first audit for a Pepco account at a specific address.
How to Participate in the Pepco Energy Audit Program
According to Pepco the first step to get an energy audit is to select a participating contractor. You can schedule a comprehensive home energy audit with Hometrust here. The cost is $100 ($400 value).
Once the Pepco energy audit is complete your home's data will get entered into the modeling software. The program calculates eligible rebates. It also calculates how much energy you can save if you get the work done as prescribed.
Modeling software generates an accurate Pepco energy audit report.
Incentives and Rebates Connected to the Pepco Energy Audit
Are you are having a specific comfort or energy usage issue? Are you in the market for insulation, efficient windows and doors, a new water heater or new HVAC?
If you said yes, then the Pepco energy audit program is an absolute no-brainer. Here is what the incentives cover in the way of high efficiency products and solutions:
- Air Sealing and insulation
- Heating and cooling equipment
- ENERGY STAR® Windows and Doors
- Hybrid heat pump water heaters
- Duct Sealing
- Smart Thermostats
Pepco Energy Audit Instant Savings Measures
A great benefit of the Pepco energy audit is the energy saving measures that the energy auditor can install in your home. The "direct installs" include the following:
- High efficiency LED light bulbs
- Low-flow shower head fixtures
- Low-flow sink aerators
- Insulation for hot water heater pipe
- Smart power strips
Who is Qualified to Perform a Pepco Energy Audit?
There are only a select few contractors in the state of Maryland that qualify to perform a Pepco energy audit. An approved auditing company in the program has a very unique skill set.
There are two unique certifications that are critical to understanding the audit process and being accepted into the program. A contractor that carries a Building Analyst certification can identify energy issues. The Envelope Professional designation means that we also know how to fix problems.
Most contractors know how to sell you what you want and install what they sell. Pepco energy audit approved energy firms know how to show you what you need and install it so it makes a difference.
Can a Pepco Energy Audit Help Me Find Ways to Reduce Insects/Rodents In My Home?
A Pepco energy audit has one main purpose and that is to tighten the envelope of your home. This means to let less air leak in or out. Insects travel in and out through the exact same pathways.
The answer is yes! A Pepco energy audit will look around your entire home to search for air leakage. When you take advantage of the available incentives to get the work done it will also help to reduce pests.
Will the results of a Pepco energy audit save you money?
A Pepco energy audit will save you money - no questions asked! Upon completion of your initial inspection, the auditor will install energy saving measures. This will help you save right away!
On a grander scale, the answer gets more complicated. There are many factors that must be in the equation to determine an answer.
- How long will you live in the home?
- How much work does the home need?
- What type of fuel do you use for heating and cooling?
A Pepco energy audit is the absolute best way to figure out the answer to the question. In fact, that is the design of the program. The audit is the analyzation step. Information obtained during the audit can set a pathway to comfort and efficiency.
How Can a Pepco Energy Audit Help with Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality is a combination of several things. One part is ACH, or air changes per hour. This means how many times the volume of air in your home transfers with outside air.
If your home has a very high ACH that means it is leaky. On the one hand, you are getting fresh air which is good. On the other, the fresh air that is coming in is not controlled.
As a result, energy bills go higher - particularly during the heating and cooling seasons.
There must be balance between fresh air and tightening up a home with air sealing. A Pepco energy audit will uncover the individual needs of your home.
If you have high humidity during the summer or you have cold areas in your home during winter then get an audit. A Pepco energy audit will uncover the sources of these indoor air quality issues.
What Types of Recommendations Come Out of a Pepco Energy Audit?
If you believe that improving comfort and efficiency is as simple as adding insulation to what you have then a Pepco energy audit is something you should strongly consider.
A typical prescription for tightening up a house and making it more efficient will include things like caulking, air sealing and weatherization treatment to the attic hatch. Walls that are accessible in the attic (kneewalls) may be recommended for treatment and the basement rim joist is a big opportunity in unfinished areas.
Each home is different and the "low hanging fruit" are different for each home. A good auditor will find differences in the same model in the same neighborhood. A Pepco energy audit takes a snapshot of your home's insulation levels around the house, reports on them and makes recommendations on how to improve the boundary locations.
Residential houses and commercial buildings account for approximately 39 percent of total U.S. energy consumption.
Energy consumption within a building is made up of many parts and the building envelope is the single biggest factor in what part of the usage is waste. The envelope serves as the barrier between the inside and outside.
A Pepco energy audit evaluates your home's envelope and looks for easy ways to tighten things up. A Pepco energy audit can lead to more home comfort and smaller energy bills.
Have you had a Pepco energy audit and if so, what was your experience? We want to know!