Ways to Tell if a Home is Energy-Efficient

There are a few ways to tell if a home is energy-efficient, something you definitely want to know prior to submitting a purchase offer. In the state of Florida, the average monthly electric bill is $132.16, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Add that to an average $45 water bill, waste, and more, it adds up quickly. The total is even higher in the long summer months. Also, with average temperatures in the mid 80’s well into late October and early November. This is why it’s important to know the ways to tell if a home is energy-efficient.

Ways to Tell if a Home is Energy-Efficient

There are a number of things you should do immediately right after you move into a house. This includes changing the door locks, purchasing window coverings, learning how to work everything, and more. What you don’t want to discover is the house is an energy hog, consuming large amounts of electricity to keep it cool and/or water constantly running unseen. These problems will seriously drive up your living costs unnecessarily. Plus, you need to know if a house is free of safety and health issues.

While a professional home energy audit is the best way to determine where your home is losing energy and where you can save, you can conduct your own simple but diligent walk-through and spot many problems in any type of house. This “do-it-yourself” home energy audit will not be as thorough as a professional home energy assessment, but it can help you pinpoint some of the easier areas to address. When walking through your home, keep a checklist of areas you have inspected and problems you found. This list will help you prioritize your energy efficiency upgrades. Do not assume that just because your home is recently constructed–or even new–that there are no opportunities to save energy. —U.S. Department of Energy

Some issues are easy to spot — like being able to tell if a home has a mold problem. It’s usually visible and when it’s not in plain sight, its odor gives it away. Energy efficiency is a bit more tricky to determine because it’s something generally learned over time. But, it doesn’t hurt to take proactive steps to learn if there is one or more existing energy waste issues. Unfortunately, these are among the many things sellers try to hide from buyers. However, you still have options at your disposal. Here are some clever ways to tell if a home is energy-efficient:

  • Obtain past utility bills. Request through your buyer’s agent the seller provide copies of past utility bills. If this isn’t an option, contact local utility providers and ask about the history of the property or for an estimate based on its size and floor plan.
  • Check out the appliances. Your home inspector will likely test the appliances to ensure they are working. But, working condition and energy-efficient isn’t the same. Look for the Energy Star label. In the alternative, note the make and model, then look it up online.
  • Ask about any home improvements. Past home improvements might have more than one benefit. For instance, a roof replacement could involve new insulation or a HVAC system replacement could mean putting in an entirely new system.
  • Schedule a home energy audit. You can also request to schedule a home energy audit. This analysis will tell you a lot about how energy-efficient the home is and what improvements can be made to make it more efficient.

If you are ready to buy a home, be sure to schedule a professional home inspection to learn about its true condition. And, work with an experienced real estate professional who knows the Orlando area well. You can contact me at 407-616-7286 or send a quick email.