Home Energy Audit

CaroleOHJuly 29, 2014

We have an all electric geothermal home which is supposed to be pretty energy efficient, but our attic insulation levels are really bad (had several people tell me this) as well as our windows/doors are really old so I'm thinking before the snow flies I should have an audit done to see how energy efficient we really are.

Has anyone actually done this with their home? What were the recommendations. Did you do any of them and if so do you think it was worth the investment?

Based on the way our house was built/duct work installed we have 3 geothermal units and our electric bill in summer/winter averages about $600-700 a month. We only have gas for our stove and my DH's hot tub so it's fairly nominal. Our hot water tanks etc. are electric but the initial water is heated off the geothermal then goes through the normal hot water heater so that too is supposedly energy efficient.

My monthly electric bill still seems like a lot to me so hoping that weather proofing my house will help lower these costs. Your thoughts and experiences would be most helpful!

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maddielee

Your monthly electric bill seems VERY high to me too. Our house is 2400 sq ft and our highest electric bill ever was under $300.00. We're in Florida so the AC is on about 9 months a year.

We had the free audit done by our electric company (Tampa Electric) about 20 years ago. The woman who did it was very thorough. She climbed up in out attic which has a small access hatch, checked out the windows, and central air units. She gave good suggestions about what steps to take to make our house more efficient. The first thing we did was retape the ductwork and add insulation.

Check with your power company and see if they have someone who can do you audit.

ML

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 12:36PM
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deee_gw

Carole - What is the square footage of your home? Your bills sound very high to me. Our last house was just about 4000 sq/ft. We lived in the deep South, most of our house was in the full sun in the afternoon, we ran a pool filter constantly and our a/c units were old. Our summer bill was never higher than$450.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 1:24PM
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tinam61

We are much like Maddielee. Approximate same size house - we have heat pumps - one for the house and a separate one for the large garage/workshop. Our utility bill has never been over $300. Our home is VERY well insulated and I am so thankful to our GC for the suggestions made during building. We've not had an actual energy audit, but we had our heat pump system checked out a couple of years ago and updated all the duct work to a newer, more efficient material. Our home is around 15 years old. At some point we did have some additional insulation put down in our attic and in the spacing beneath the flooring. We don't have carpet, but our floors are not cold either. This year we did look at heat pumps as we know ours is getting close to it's lifespan and we wanted to have an idea what to go with next time. Whenever that time comes, the new models are more energy efficient. Earlier this summer, we had a switch go out on our AC unit - overnight (of course) and it was fine. Kept the ceiling fans going and doors closed and the house stayed cool. We use AC alot, not quite as long as Maddie usually, but it's very common for the summer utility bills to be higher than our colder months' bills.

Keeping watch on door trims, etc. is a good idea. Hubby recently replaced the rubber trim (seal) around the garage door and I think also on a couple of exterior doors.

tina

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 2:49PM
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beaglesdoitbetter1

Oh my gosh are those bills high! We have geothermal, 4500+ square foot house w/ high ceilings that we air condition down to 68 degrees. I am also not good about turning off lights. Our electric bill has not ever been more than $300 in the summer and is usually closer to $200.

Will your power company do an energy audit for free?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 4:47PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

That does seem expensive...what area of the country are you in? That would make a difference. I happen to be fortunate enough to live in the area of the country with the highest electric rates and our electric bill is a lot lower. We too have geothermal, but we also have solar panels and lots of good insulation.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:51PM
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kswl2

Our bills are similar to yours, Caroleh, but we do not have geothermal units. We have two systems, a five ton Trane and a 3 ton Trane, that use propane in winter for heat and electricity from our rural electric co-op for air conditioning. We have two water heaters, one electric and one gas, a gas range and three gas fireplaces. Our living area is about 5500 square feet and wasn't designed for HVAC efficiency, I'm afraid. And since DH purchased an electric car nine months ago our electric bill has gone up another $200 or so each month.

We are strongly considering a solar array on our roof.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:10PM
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pesky1

Wow-those bills are ridiculously high IMHO. I thought geothermal would cause lower bills. My cousin who lives in Iowa has geothermal power, I wasn't aware it was common, I've only had experience with it in commercial applications.

When we have our hot tub on, our electric bill runs about $125/mo. Without it our electric is usually under $75. But we have natural gas for hot water, dryer and cooking. Our house is only 1600 SF, however.

I want to have an energy audit done-we heat currently with a pellet stove, but our home is equipped with central gas heat. The furnace is quite old, so I refuse to use it. I would like the energy audit to see where we can make improvements (I know one door is leaking heat/cool like a sieve) because I want to replace a couple windows and look in to a new furnace.

I'm pretty sure most utility companies will do an audit for free, and sometimes that will lead to you getting a rebate. At least it helps to learn where you can make changes and they also can show you options for money saving or tax deductions related to energy costs.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:28AM
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