How Much Does a Home Energy Audit Cost?
A home energy audit can help homeowners determine how energy efficient their home is. The national average home energy audit cost is $415, though homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $208 to $675 for the service.
- The typical cost for a home energy audit ranges from $208 to $675, with homeowners paying an average of $415 nationally.
- The main factors that affect the total cost of a home energy audit include the size of the home, the level of the audit, and the home’s geographic location.
- There are many benefits to a home energy audit, including lower energy bills, a reduced carbon footprint, reduced health and safety risks, and a more stable home temperature.
- Homeowners can often spot areas of the home where energy is wasted, such as a broken window seal, but a professional home energy auditor can perform a more in-depth assessment to find areas where the homeowner can improve overall efficiency.
Many homeowners would like to know how efficient their home is so they can determine where to make improvements. A home energy audit assesses a home’s energy efficiency to identify areas where energy is being wasted and also includes recommendations on how a homeowner can reduce their energy consumption. An energy audit will typically include an inspection of a home’s insulation, heating and cooling systems, appliances, lights, windows, and other components that affect the amount of energy used (and wasted). An energy audit can also identify potential health and safety risks such as carbon monoxide leaks and poor ventilation.
According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, the cost of a home energy audit typically falls between $208 and $675, with a national average cost of $415. Home energy audit costs depend on several factors, such as the house’s size and age, the equipment used for the audit, and any extra services that may be needed. The cost also varies depending on whether a homeowner hires a professional or completes the inspection themselves. In either case, it is important for homeowners to understand all of these factors before deciding to have a home energy audit. This guide will cover the factors that make up the total cost of a home energy audit, the various types of audits available, and cost comparisons.
Factors in Calculating Home Energy Audit Cost
Home energy audits are an important part of keeping a home energy efficient. But what factors influence their cost? The size of the home, the level of audit being performed, and even the geographic location all play a role in determining the cost of a home energy audit. By understanding what goes into calculating these costs, a homeowner can make sure that they get the most out of their investment in an energy audit.
The size of a home can significantly impact the cost of an energy audit, as larger homes require more time and resources to assess their energy usage. The average home energy audit costs anywhere from $0.08 to $0.50 per square foot.
|Home Size||Energy Audit Cost Range||Average Cost|
|1,000 square feet||$80 to $500||$290|
|1,500 square feet||$120 to $750||$440|
|2,000 square feet||$160 to $1,000||$580|
|2,500 square feet||$200 to $1,250||$730|
|3,000 square feet||$240 to $1,500||$870|
There are several other factors that affect a home energy audit cost besides square footage, so these figures are not guaranteed in either direction. For example, a large pole barn with new windows may not cost as much to audit as a small older home that has multiple drafty areas and temperature fluctuations. Generally speaking, though, homeowners can expect to pay more for a home efficiency audit on a larger home than on one with a smaller layout.
ASHRAE Audit Level
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is a global organization that promotes the advancement of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. It works to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and homes by providing guidance on home energy auditing and other related topics.
ASHRAE has developed a home energy audit program to help homeowners identify and reduce their home energy consumption. This program consists of three levels. Each one comes with its own cost based on the services included in the audit. These are explained in more detail below.
The cost of a home energy audit can vary depending on the tests that are performed. For example, a blower door test is an important part of a home energy audit. It is a diagnostic tool used to measure a home’s airtightness and identify areas where energy efficiency can be improved. The test involves mounting a powerful fan in an exterior doorway and measuring the amount of air that leaks out of the house. This type of test costs an average of $350.
A duct test is a process used to measure the airflow and pressure in a home’s ducts. This test aims to identify any potential problems with the air distribution system, such as leaks or blockages, that could be causing energy losses. A duct test costs an average of $100.
There are several other tests a residential energy auditor might conduct, including a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) test at an average cost of $375. A HERS Certification costs about $200 and is explained in more detail below. Finally, infrared is another common home energy audit test used to detect air leaks, insulation deficiencies, and hidden moisture. An infrared imaging test costs an average of $200.
Geographic location can influence a home energy audit cost for a few reasons. First, different areas throughout the country have different average home sizes, as more populated areas are more likely to have smaller homes than more rural areas. An area’s local cost of living rate also influences energy audit cost; contractors in areas with higher living costs are likely to charge higher rates. The following chart can give homeowners an idea of what to expect from a home energy audit cost based on geographic location.
|City||Average Home Energy Audit Cost|
Additional Costs and Considerations
There may be additional factors to consider when homeowners are calculating a home energy audit cost. While not a part of the original cost, energy-efficient upgrades may be recommended by an energy and utility bill auditor. There may also be additional certification costs or potential rebates that can absorb some of the upgrade costs. These potential cost-affecting components are explained in more detail below.
A HERS Certification is issued by the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) to verify the energy efficiency of various home features. Most states require a HERS Certification for any new home construction or remodel projects, such as projects to make an old house more energy-efficient. It can also be used to verify that existing homes meet certain energy efficiency standards. The certificate also serves as proof of compliance with local building codes, making it an important document for anyone looking to buy or sell a home.
A HERS rating can be added to the cost of an energy audit for an extra fee. HERS testing costs between $150 and $25; each additional certification costs an additional $50 to $100. Possible certifications include cooling coil airflow, duct leakage, fan watt draw, high energy efficiency ratio (EER), and refrigerant change verification.
There are various types of energy-efficient upgrades that can be implemented in homes, ranging from simple changes such as switching to LED lights to more complex ones such as installing solar panels. An energy efficiency audit can help a homeowner determine what types of upgrades their home can benefit from.
Making energy-efficient upgrades isn’t a requirement after a home energy audit, but it’s the standard route most homeowners take after an audit exposes opportunities to increase their home’s efficiency levels (and potentially save on utility costs). Every upgrade type has its unique price range, but the following are some average upgrade costs for homeowners to consider:
|Water stripping installation||$280|
|Water heater installation||$1,000|
|Spray foam insulation installation||$2,300|
|Heat pump installation||$5,696|
Homeowners can often save money on energy-efficient upgrades with rebates from their state or federal government. These rebates can help offset the cost of a new furnace and other energy-efficient upgrades, such as solar panel installation, old heating and cooling system replacement, or insulation improvements. To see if they qualify for discounted or free home audits, homeowners are advised to check with local authorities. While a complimentary audit may not include all of the standard inspection tasks, it can still help a homeowner understand their energy-saving options and ways to qualify for a rebate. Homeowners can then determine whether the cost to install a heat pump or the cost to replace drafty old windows is worth it.
Once upgrades are made, a homeowner may qualify for as much as $5,000 in rebates for a gas-heated home and $8,000 in rebates for an electric-heated home, with different upgrades qualifying for varying rebate amounts. Many areas also offer rebates for solar panel installation, and there are other advantages of solar energy for homeowners to consider as well. Interested homeowners can reach out to some of the best solar companies for more details and a quote for the cost to install solar panels on their roof.
Types of Home Energy Audits
There are three main types of home energy assessments: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Each audit type has different costs associated with it and provides a different level of detail in the audit process.
A Level 1 energy audit aims to identify a home’s energy-saving potential. Also known as a simple energy audit, a Level 1 audit will cost between $150 and $200 for a typical 1,800-square-foot home, or between $0.08 and $0.12 per square foot.
As one may expect, Level 1 is the most affordable type of audit, but it’s less thorough than others. During a Level 1 audit, an auditor will perform a quick yet concise walk-through of a home, keeping an eye out for any obvious energy-consumption issues. They’ll also review a home’s utility bills for any glaring signs of an energy problem. Finally, the auditor will provide the homeowner with a cost-and-savings analysis that includes energy-efficiency suggestions. If the auditor or homeowner suspects there are more complex energy-efficiency issues, a more thorough audit will be required.
A Level 2 ASHRAE home energy audit involves a more thorough survey of a home’s energy consumption and can range from $200 to $650, or approximately $0.12 to $0.35 per square foot, for a typical 1,800-square-foot house. It’s described more as an energy survey and analysis rather than a simple walk-through inspection.
This energy assessment takes a closer look at a home’s previous utility statements to gauge how the house consumes gas and electricity. After reviewing the data, the auditor will put together a comprehensive financial report that can help a homeowner know which improvements are the most cost-effective.
A Level 3 is the most comprehensive residential energy audit available and has a price to match. Homeowners can expect to pay between $650 and $900 for a Level 3 audit or between $0.36 and $0.50 per square foot. Homeowners will need to know that Level 3 audits are typically reserved for commercial buildings, though they can be used in a residential home if more complex energy issues are suspected. Level 3 audits offer more technical solutions to energy waste.
When it comes to any type of audit, homeowners will want to keep in mind that the cost depends heavily on the audit level and the size of the home. Before assuming a specific energy audit level is extra affordable or out of budget, homeowners are advised to reach out to a professional auditor for a price quote based on their home’s unique layout and size.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
Home energy audits offer many benefits for homeowners, including lower electricity bills, improved comfort, and a reduced carbon footprint. By taking advantage of the many benefits of a home energy audit listed below, a homeowner can create a more comfortable and efficient living space while reducing their environmental impact.
Reduced Electricity Bills
Most homeowners who increase their home’s energy efficiency see a drastic drop in their utility bills. When a household is able to cut its energy consumption, be it electricity, gas, or both, the cost to keep a household operational decreases accordingly.
Once a homeowner receives the results of an energy audit, there are many things they can do to reduce their energy consumption (and bills). Some examples include installing LED light bulbs, resealing or installing new windows, adding additional eco-friendly insulation in the attic, and using smart thermostat technology to cut the costs of home heating.
While these upgrades have an initial cost, homeowners will see substantial savings over time that eventually absorb initial installation costs.
Improved Air Quality and Safety
Another valuable benefit of completing a house energy audit is increased health and safety. When a home reaches optimal energy efficiency levels, it relies on the heating and cooling systems less frequently. With less air moving through the home’s ductwork, less dust and fewer allergens are released into the air, making it easier and safer for residents to breathe.
Poor air quality has been tied to symptoms like eye and throat irritation, headaches, and fatigue, all of which are worsened for those with certain conditions, including asthma and allergies. Making the suggested changes to a home included in a home energy report can create an environment that’s healthier and safer for all residents of a home.
Stabilized Home Temperature
A home is supposed to be inviting, calming, and comfortable. When living and sleeping spaces are too hot or too cold or they fluctuate in temperature from room to room, it can be difficult to work, study, sleep, or relax. One benefit of a home energy audit is that it allows a homeowner to quickly see where they can reduce any existing energy waste and make it easier to stabilize their home’s temperature.
There are many energy-saving upgrades and repairs a homeowner can make to increase their home’s comfort levels, including installing new or more insulation, reapplying caulking around doors and windows, or sealing a basement. Eradicating drafts and air leakage makes it much easier to keep a home evenly warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Increased Home Value
A listing’s energy efficiency status can be a top feature or a major deterrent for shoppers searching for a new home. Many home buyers want to do their part for the environment while also minimizing their heating costs and utility bills.
For homeowners considering putting their property on the market, having a home energy audit is one way to elicit higher offers. Following an audit’s energy-saving recommendations, a homeowner can advertise their home as an environmentally friendly property. This can maximize a home’s resale value, attract more buyers, and hopefully lead to a fast sale.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
Home energy audits make it easier for homeowners to find ways to reduce their energy usage. In turn, this reduces the overall demand for fossil fuels and lowers the levels of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.
Simple ways to reduce one’s carbon footprint include the following:
- turning lights off when not needed
- using a power strip to turn off multiple electronics at once and avoid phantom power
- keeping windows closed and properly sealed when using a climate-control system
- turning off computers, printers, televisions, etc., when not in use
- washing full loads of laundry rather than half and using cold water whenever possible
- exploring different types of heating systems, including geothermal heat pumps
Home Energy Audit: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
DIY home energy audits are becoming more common as the cost of energy increases, but for the untrained eye, looking for energy-wasting issues in a home can be daunting and time-consuming. During a DIY energy audit, a homeowner may be able to identify and seal several air leaks. This may include sealing any openings in windows, doorways, and foundations while also looking for other potential sources of lost energy.
While a professional energy and electricity audit costs between $208 and $675, a DIY approach costs only a homeowner’s time, plus the cost of materials for any energy-efficient upgrades. But without the proper experience and tools, a DIY home energy audit is unlikely to be as effective as one conducted by a professional. For example, many professional auditors use infrared cameras, gas leak detectors, power meters, airflow measurement devices, and temperature and humidity loggers.
If the goal of a DIY home energy audit is to save money, purchasing the required tools for a thorough audit can quickly negate any savings. Completing an audit without these tools can allow home energy issues to remain undetected by an inexperienced and ill-prepared homeowner, resulting in increased expenses in the end.
Investing in the services of a local energy auditor is a smart decision for any homeowner. Not only will they give a homeowner an accurate assessment of their home efficiency and suggestions on how to improve it, but they can also provide recommendations on the best HVAC companies or the best window replacement companies in the homeowner’s area that can assist with repairs and replacements. This will help a homeowner save money in the long run and ensure their home is efficient and safe.
How to Save Money on Home Energy Audit Cost
Home energy audits are important in reducing home energy costs, but they come at a cost themselves. The following tips offer ideas for saving money on home energy audits and making them more affordable.
- Compare different companies and their rates. By receiving multiple quotes, you can gauge whether or not you’re being overcharged or underserviced.
- Research local tax credits and rebates. You may be able to take advantage of local tax credits or rebates after making energy-efficient changes to your home, which can help absorb the initial home energy audit cost.
- Look for online energy evaluation tools. There are many low-cost and even free online tools that can help you access or monitor your home’s energy usage.
- Consider any energy-saving recommendations. An energy audit will provide you with a checklist of tasks to make your home more energy efficient. Completing these tasks can reduce monthly utility bills and serve as a return on an energy audit investment.
Questions to Ask About Home Energy Audits
Professional energy auditors have the knowledge and skills to assess the efficiency of a home and recommend ways to improve it. However, for homeowners to get the most out of a home energy evaluation, finding an experienced and qualified auditor is important. Working through the following questions can help a homeowner find the right professional for the job.
- What is your experience in home energy auditing?
- Do you have any certifications or qualifications in this area?
- What type of home energy audit will you be performing?
- How long will the audit take to complete?
- What areas of the home will you assess during the audit?
- What tools and equipment do you use to assess energy efficiency?
- What type of recommendations will you make for improving energy efficiency?
- How much will the audit cost, and what services will be included in that cost?
- Will there be any additional fees associated with the audit?
- Will the energy audit include a review of my home’s utility bills?
- Will you provide a written report of your findings and recommendations?
Whether for a homeowner or a tenant, an energy audit is a great way to identify issues that lead to high energy bills or underperforming heating and cooling systems. A home energy audit can also help identify potential health hazards and boost a home’s resale value.
This FAQ section holds answers to some of the most common questions about home energy audits and can help consumers make more informed decisions about their next energy audit.
Q. Is home energy audit cost tax deductible?
While the cost of a home energy audit itself isn’t tax deductible, homeowners can take advantage of tax credits when they make energy-efficient improvements to their homes. These tax credits can help offset the cost of installing energy-efficient insulation, windows, doors, heating and cooling systems, and water heaters. Additionally, there are also credits available for the purchase of certain types of renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines.
Q. What should I do to make my home more energy efficient?
There are a number of simple steps consumers can take to ensure that their home uses energy efficiently. These include investing in energy-efficient appliances, adding insulation, sealing air leaks, and making sure all windows and doors are properly sealed. Some homeowners may even consider whether they want to invest in the cost to install a geothermal heat pump, which can provide sustainable heating to a home. Starting with a home energy audit can provide a homeowner with a list of energy-saving recommendations specific to their home.
Q. What does a home energy audit include?
A home energy audit comprehensively assesses a home’s energy efficiency. It involves a visual inspection of the home, an analysis of its utility bills, and a list of recommendations to help reduce energy consumption and lower monthly bills. Depending on the level of the audit, it may also involve testing for air leaks and other potential sources of energy waste.
Q. How can I save on the cost of my home energy audit?
There are several ways to save on home energy audit costs. One option is to take advantage of the Weatherization Assistance Program, which provides free or low-cost home energy audit services to qualifying households. Homeowners are also advised to reach out to multiple contractors and compare prices before making a decision. Finally, a homeowner can complete their own inspection, though it will not be as effective as an audit conducted by a trained professional.
Q. How long does an energy audit take?
A home energy audit typically takes between 1 and 6 hours to complete, depending on the size of the property and scope of the audit. The process includes inspecting a home’s insulation, windows, doors, lighting fixtures, heating and cooling systems, appliances, and other areas to identify potential sources of energy loss. The larger a home is, or the more detailed the inspection, the longer an energy audit is likely to take.
Q. How often should I do a home energy audit?
Generally, it is recommended that a home energy audit be completed every 2 to 3 years or whenever there are major changes made to a home, such as window replacement or the installation of new insulation. An audit can also be beneficial when there is an increase in monthly utility bills or before a home goes on the market.