Schaub Team Blog

How Do I Know if I'm Getting an Energy-Efficient Home?

Posted by Marianne Pierce on Apr 12 , 2021 - 11:54 am

You're ready to pack your bags and move into a new home.  But before you budget for your new place, consider this: how much will you pay in electricity bills if the house isn't energy-efficient?

Given the cost of power and the environmental challenges facing our planet, more home buyers are prioritizing energy efficiency when shopping for homes.

The monthly electrical bill of a home can be affected by a few factors:

  • The insulation
  • The appliances
  • The building materials

But how do you know if a home is truly energy-efficient?  In this post, we'll dive into what you should inspect when hunting for a home.

Check the Light Bulbs

LED LightingTake a closer look at the light bulbs in the home.  Incandescent bulbs are the most common, but also quite wasteful.  They consume more energy than alternatives and don't last as long.

Instead, opt for CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) or LED (Light-Emitting Diode) bulbs.  Not only will these bulbs last longer, but they will also use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Assess the Insulation

Homes with an airtight seal keep your warm/cool air inside, and the outdoor air out.  It makes all the difference between a home that's highly energy-efficient, and one that is not.

Buying a home without checking the insulation first might cost you a surprisingly large amount on your energy bill.

Is your basement always cold?  Check the basement insulation.  The attic is another vulnerable area for air loss.  There may be gaps or weaknesses in the structure of the home that are causing temperature inconsistencies, making the HVAC system work harder than it needs to.

However, insulation is inside of walls, meaning that it's difficult to check on your own.  Call a professional inspector to assess the property before you purchase it.

Inspect the Windows and Doors

Ever feel a draft by your window?  Notice a warm gust when you walk by the door?  It's not a coincidence.  These areas are vulnerable to heating/cooling losses in many homes.  Air leaks cause increases in your energy bill.

Single-pane windows are major sources of air loss. Double or even triple-pane windows provide better protection.  You should also take a closer look at the doors.  Weatherstripping and silicone caulking can seal the gaps between the frame and the walls.

Roof How Old is the Roof?

One of the biggest sources of energy loss is through the roof.  Gaps, broken shingles, and cracks in the material can allow hot or cold air to leak out of your home.

The cost of replacing a roof is enough to persuade most home buyers to choose a different property.  Be sure to inquire about the condition and age of the roof before purchasing a home - doing so will save you from an unexpected major expense.

A new roof has another bonus: it makes your home more comfortable and resistant to water damage.  Some roofing materials can reflect heat, which creates even more savings on your cooling costs.  You'll feel safer in a house that has a strong, solid roof over your head.


HVACCheck the HVAC

Few things will have a greater effect on your energy bill than the HVAC system itself!  Have the HVAC inspected before you decide to buy a home.

You might need to call a certified HVAC technician rather than a general house inspector.  They will inspect the performance of the system, tell you how old it is, and identify any necessary repairs.

Be sure the HVAC unit is in working order before decided to buy a property.

Look for Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures

Our sink taps, showerheads, and toilets are used every day.  Homes with low-flow fixtures use less water - this means that whenever you shower, the boiler will use less energy to heat the water.  Low-flow fixtures can reduce water consumption by 20%, which can create significant savings each month.

Want to know if a fixture is low-flow?  Identify the model number or label on the appliance.  It's often located inside the tank of a toilet, on a showerhead, or along the rim of a faucet.  Then, try searching for it online.

Energy Star AppliancesAssess the Appliances

Some of the biggest consumers of energy in your home include the laundry machines, fridge, and dishwasher.  Most homeowners use these appliances every day, so their energy efficiency plays a big role in monthly electricity bills.

Appliances with ENERGY STAR logos use less electricity without compromising performance - the more machines in your home with this certification, the better.

A thorough inspection of all of the above can help you determine whether a home is truly energy-efficient.  It may cost more to purchase a highly energy-efficient home, but that investment will pay off over time with the lower cost of your electricity bills.