Home energy audits to be offered to residents

Published 9:48 pm Thursday, September 14, 2017

Most homeowners want an efficient, comfortable and safe home, but getting there can be confusing.

According to a press release, the best first step can often be getting a home energy audit. From Sept. 26 to Sept. 28, professionals will be devoting their time and attention to Albert Lea residents who schedule an in-home energy-saving audit with Minnesota Energy Resources, the area’s natural gas utility.

“If you wish to solve comfort problems or reduce your energy bills, a home energy audit can help,” said Jeff Larson, senior external affairs manager with Minnesota Energy Resources. “The energy auditor will visit your home and provide energy saving suggestions that also will improve the comfort, durability, safety and affordability of your home.”

The professional auditors are happy to answer specific questions about energy use and help homeowners figure out what really makes sense for their homes. There are two options for energy audits, standard and performance.

During a standard audit, the energy professional will analyze a home’s energy use by looking at utility bill usage, building structure and equipment. The auditor also will install some energy-saving items for free.

According to a press release, specialized tests will indicate how leaky a home is and how well the furnace and appliances are operating. At the close of the audit, the homeowner will receive a list of energy-saving recommendations, prioritized to show the best return on investment.

Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services is partnering with Minnesota Energy Resources to ensure these audits also give tips on electric savings, making these home energy audits truly comprehensive.

As a part of the audit fee, the auditor will properly install energy saving items the home might currently be without, such as energy-saving light bulbs, pipe wrap insulation, low-flow faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads.

Between the items that get installed during the visit and the expert advice each homeowner receives, each audit is valued at over $300. The utilities cover most of the cost of the audit. The customer is only responsible for a copay of $50, which is added to their natural gas bill. Low-income customers may participate in this program at no cost.

A performance audit may be the best fit for your needs if a home has experience:

Ice dams on the roof

Moisture or frost in the attic

Mold or moisture spots on interior walls

Condensation on your windows

Stains around ceiling exhaust fans

Cold spots in areas of the house

Inadequate or older insulation

A performance audit includes everything a standard audit includes, as well as an infrared camera inspection to further pinpoint the location of heat loss and air leaks. A report with infrared camera pictures will be emailed to you. The performance audit has a customer copay of $125.

To request a home energy audit with Minnesota Energy Resources, call 1-800- 376-0517 or online or visit www.minnesotaenergyresources.com/audits.