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Professional home energy auditors may be worth the cost

Energy prices may fluctuate from time to time, making it difficult for homeowners to estimate their monthly bills. However, there are a few actions individuals can take to keep their costs low without sacrificing efficiency. More owners conduct energy audits after initially buying a home, but it's important to keep up on these examinations over time.

Some homeowners may conduct energy checks themselves, while others turn to professionals. Before making the decision, it's important to understand what these audits do and whether hiring a professional is necessary.

Audits detect home vulnerabilities

An energy audit can highlight areas of the home that are prone to leaks, holes and cracks which could potentially result in higher energy bills. Most of these areas are around doors and windows and allow heat and cool air to escape, but they can appear in other locations as well. Many of these are also quick fixes, and homeowners can patch them up by caulking problem areas, plugging leaks or purchasing new window treatments and doors. In other cases, new insulation in attics and walls can also keep heat and air locked in a home.

Unfortunately, some leaks and cracks are not as easy to detect as others, which prompts many homeowners to hire a professional auditor. Most professional audits cost between $300 and $500.

"Homeowners can check for infiltrations around windows, doors and electric outlets and they can go and buy kits to fill those areas," Alliance to Save Energy executive vice president Brian Castelli told Fox Business. "But some things you aren't going to be able to see without tools."

Prepare for an auditor

Professional energy auditors rely on several tools to make their determinations, including a blower door, infrared camera and duct blower, according to Fox Business. Most energy audits last between two and four hours, depending on the size of the home, and most professionals will interview homeowners about their trouble spots. After the audit has been completed, homeowners will get a list of problem areas, if any, and recommendations on how to correct them.

If homeowners plan to make alterations to their homes, such as putting in new window treatments, they should consider purchasing "green" features that may offer them more durability and possible tax credits.

About Coldwell Banker®

Since 1906, the Coldwell Banker® organization has been a premier provider of full-service residential and commercial real estate. Coldwell Banker is the oldest national real estate brand in the United States and today has a network of approximately 83,000 sales agents working in approximately 3,100 offices in 50 countries and territories. The Coldwell Banker brand is known for creating innovative consumer services as recently seen by being the first national real estate brand to create an iPad application and the first to fully harness the power of video in real estate listings, news and information through its Coldwell Banker On LocationSM YouTube channel. The Coldwell Banker system is a leader in specialty markets such as resort, new homes and luxury properties through its Coldwell Banker Previews International® marketing program. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each office is independently owned and operated.
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