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My Home Needs Help: Energy Audits

2 April 2010

I had the worst ice dams in my house this winter and I can’t figure out why my heating bills were so high!

I’m thinking of getting new windows, but I’m not sure if that’s the best investment I could make in my home.

If you are looking for help learning more about how your home uses energy, you’re looking for an energy audit. When you schedule an energy audit with your utility, they will send an energy technician to your home to run diagnostic tests to help determine how your home is using and losing energy, and what your next steps should be.  Some services you may request include:

  • Analysis of your energy bills,
  • Examination of the interior and exterior of your home,
  • Safety tests of mechanical systems,
  • A blower door test to measure air leaks,
  • Infrared camera pictures of heat loss, and
  • Customized recommendations to save energy in your home.

CenterPoint Energy offers a basic audit for $25 and a comprehensive audit (which includes blower door and infrared camera) for $100.  You can request an audit online or call 1-800-234-5800 ext. 5011 to sign up.

Xcel Energy offers three levels of audits: a basic audit for $30, an audit with a blower door for $60 and an audit with a blower door and infrared camera for $100.

Just to make things even more confusing, there are a few special programs with limited availability that also offer direct install of energy saving materials, and in some cases, some analysis and energy tracking.  These programs are: Home Energy Squad (St. Paul), Home Energy Squad (Non-St. Paul), Community Energy Services (select Minneapolis neighborhoods) and be. (Better Energy) Apple Valley.

I know it can be hard to sort these programs out and find out which ones you qualify for.  If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment, email me at ncranesmith@mncee.org or call me at 612-335-5852.  I’ll make sure you find the right program for you!

Greater Minnesota: If you are not a CenterPoint or Xcel Energy customer, please contact your local utility for information about energy audits in your area.

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