Energy Audits, Home Performance Contracting, Green Building Certification

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I tell if my home is energy efficient?

A: If you answer yes to questions like these—Are my fuel bills too high? Are my walls or floors cold in winter? Can I feel a draft around closed windows? Do I have moisture problems?—then you should probably take steps to make your home more comfortable, less costly, greener, and more valuable by making it more energy efficient.

Q: How do I get started?

A: The first step in solving your energy-efficiency problem is to understand the problem accurately. This means finding out how and where your home leaks conditioned air, collects moisture, lets outside air in, and wastes heating and cooling energy.

Q: What’s a home energy audit?

A: A home energy audit is an organized method of finding out how much energy your home consumes and what measures you can take to make it more energy efficient. An audit shows you problems that, when corrected, can save you significant amounts of money over time and increase your comfort in the home. It pinpoints where your house is losing energy, evaluates the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems, and shows you ways to conserve hot water and electricity.
Q: Where can I get a home energy audit?
A: You can start by performing a simple beginner’s energy audit by yourself, using online guidelines. Or you can have a professional carry out a more thorough audit to collect further information. A professional uses a variety of specialized techniques and equipment, such as a blower doors (which measures leakage in the building envelope) and infrared cameras (which find hard-to-detect areas of air infiltration and missing insulation).
Q: Why should I use Horizon Residential?
A: Horizon Residential is your independent home energy audit specialist. Our innovative “House as a System” gives you a wealth of information to act on, telling you where you stand—and what to do about it. It treats your home’s structure, insulation, ventilation, and mechanical systems as an interconnected whole and delivers a customized, prioritized action plan—so you’ll know exactly which steps will lead to the greatest cost savings and increase in comfort. Our customers swear by it.

Q: How long will my home energy audit take?

A: A Horizon Residential audit typically takes two to three hours, depending on the size and complexity of your home, and how many questions and areas of concern you have. We encourage you, the homeowner, to participate as much as you would like in the auditing process.

Q: Is it safe to be home during a blower-door test?

A: Yes. The blower door test helps us to identify areas of air infiltration by simulating a 20–25 mph wind blowing against the outside of the house. Technically speaking, the test works from the inside by depressurizing the building and measuring the number of times the air inside the house exchanges with the air outside. Don’t worry; it’s completely safe for people, pets, and plants.

Q: Do you use infrared “thermal” cameras?

A: We sometimes use infrared cameras, in conjunction with other tools, to evaluate the building envelope. The blower-door test usually gives us an accurate idea of how the house is operating as a system, as well as helping us to identify specific problem areas. We might use an infrared camera to help us find, for example, hidden gaps in insulation inside a wall, but often we can obtain all the information we need to evaluate a home during our walkthrough examination and the blower-door test. Thermal imaging is not always necessary to determine which measures could be implemented to make a building more energy efficient.

Q: Are replacement windows a good first step to improving my home’s energy efficiency?

A: While replacement windows generally do increase the efficiency of a building, they are not always the most cost-effective improvement to make first. Often other factors, such as an uninsulated or under-insulated attic or basement can be a much more important area to focus on, and it is not unusual that we would recommend such improvements before suggesting replacement windows.

Q: Once I have had a home energy audit and have received my report, can I contact Horizon Residential with questions or concerns?

A: Yes! We are happy to answer any questions you may have or discuss any suggested improvements measures. We would also be glad to look at any estimates you receive to ensure that all areas are being addresses as recommended.

Q: Will Horizon Residential come back to reevaluate my home after I have had work done?

A: Having a follow up inspection and blower door test is a good way to ensure that all work is done properly and find any missed or poorly addressed areas. Also, by retesting the home with the blower door, we can measure exactly how much tighter the building has become as a result of the implemented improvement measures. This service is not included as part of the original audit, but we would be happy to discuss pricing and scheduling if you are interested.