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You might think you know every nook, cranny, and crevice in your home, but what about what’s going on within the walls, joists, crawlspaces, outlets, and window frames? That’s where leaking air is inflating your monthly energy bill, creating chills, stacking heat, or, worst of all, drawing allergens and pollutants into your living space. That’s why so many homeowners choose to undergo a home energy audit.

A home energy audit is a professional accounting of your home's energy efficiency. It's a great starting point for anyone entertaining the idea of making energy-efficient upgrades for their home or concerned about air quality and safety. That's because an audit will reveal where your home is leaking conditioned air or drawing in outside air, thereby wasting energy and creating an unhealthy or uncomfortable living environment. An energy audit will reveal exactly where you need to insulate or air seal your home for comfort and energy savings.

Even better, there are a variety of ways you can save on a home energy audit itself, and we'll walk you through everything you need to know about claiming them here.

Related Post: Breathe Easy by Improving Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

What Is a Home Energy Audit and How Much Does it Cost?

The costs of a home energy audit range depending on your location and the size of your home, though planning for about $500 should give you a good start. Again, depending on how in-depth the assessment is, costs will range, though you can expect the following in a typical home energy audit: An inspector will spend a few hours at your house examining both the interior and exterior for both water and air leakage. The inspector will then evaluate insulation and sealing around your windows and doors to pinpoint areas that need to be reinforced or replaced altogether.

One of the most accurate ways to identify weak points is by having your inspector conduct a blower door test. A blower door test involves using a specialized, door-mounted fan to depressurize your home. Next, your inspector will walk through your home with either incense or smoke to find air leaks on the spot. Leaks may be invisible to the naked eye, but plugging them to fortify your home's shell is one of the best ways to reduce your monthly utility bills. Of course, ensuring your initial energy audit is accurate and that the ensuing work gets completed up to code can also make or break your savings. The vetted contractors in the Pearl Network have already been evaluated to ensure they know the right way to audit, seal, and insulate your home.

Related Post: What's a Home Energy Audit and When Do I Need One?

Save with Energy Efficient Tax Credit Code § 25C

Many utility providers offer rebates for undertaking a home energy audit, so check with your provider to see what kind of savings are available. In addition to possible local options, tax credit § 25C has been made available through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to also help reimburse homeowners for energy-efficient home upgrades — and that includes home energy audits. As of now, the tax credit will cover 30% of the total costs of a home energy audit up to $150.

Even better, claiming the credit isn't too complicated. In order to qualify, you'll need to make sure that:

  • Your home is located in the U.S. and is your primary place of residence.

  • Your auditor submits to you a written report of suggested improvements and the amount of energy and costs they'll save.

  • Your auditor is certified (or meets other specified requirements) by the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service.

You have plenty of time to take advantage of this credit, though keep in mind that an expiration date has been set. Starting in 2033, the 30% credit will shrink to 26%, and then again to 22% the following year.

Filing for these credits will take place on IRS Form 5695. Calculate the credits on Part I and enter your total on your 1040. If the number is greater than the amount of income tax you have due, the difference will be carried over to the following year. If you forget to file credits in time, the government allows it to be retroactively claimed. Just file an amended return after the fact to receive your savings.

The Savings Are Just Getting Started

Home energy audits are generally precursors to having additional work done on your home. Once your contractor has identified your home's major points of leakage, the natural next step is to air seal and insulate them. That kind of work also falls under Code § 25C, though keep in mind there is a $1,200 maximum annual limit once you start stacking credits.

From there, upgrading to ENERGY STAR®-certified windows and doors, for instance, can also help you maintain even temperatures and save even more on your monthly electric bill. As you move forward toward completing your new, high-powered home, know there are even more rebates and credits that can help you save:

  • Clean Energy Tax Credit (Code § 25D): For savings on solar electricity, solar heat pumps, fuel cells, and more.

  • HEEHRA rebate: Get money back right when you purchase items like electric or heat-pump-powered appliances.

  • HOMES rebate: Rebates based on how much your new upgrades will (and have) improved the energy efficiency of your home.

Don't worry, we know it's a lot to keep track of — be sure to consult our deep dive into home energy rebates and tax credits as you undertake new projects to stay on top of savings opportunities.

Related Post: Everything You Need to Know About Home Energy Rebates & Tax Credits

The Portal to Your High-Performing Home

Scheduling your home energy audit and coordinating the subsequent insulation and sealing work, plus making any related product purchases or installations, is enough to keep your plate full. Managing rebates and credits on top of that? Now we're entering there-may-just-not-be-enough-hours-in-the-day territory.

But that's why we built Green Door and its Rebates Finder. The app is free to use and enables you to browse available tax credits and rebates in your area and provides you with eligibility criteria for each, along with links to the applications. The Green Door app is updated regularly, so you can rest assured you're always operating with the most up-to-date information.

When you're ready to move forward with your home energy audit or explore insulation and air sealing work, Green Door will be there to help. You can connect with vetted contractors right on the app who know what it takes to get work done the right way to set you up for claiming credits and rebates and even an eventual Pearl Certification.

Ready to get started? Login to Green Door to start exploring home energy audit options.

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