Energy Audits Help Homeowners Find Problem Areas

Created: 02/12/2014 10:50 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- Things may be warming up a bit, but the cold weather this winter has left many with higher heating bills. But do your costs really have to be so steep? A program in Rochester could make your home more energy efficient.

For Lynne and Tony Drumm, a drafty home is not a comfortable home. "We've been arguing about whether to replace windows or storm windows,” said Rochester homeowner, Lynne Drumm.

Which is why they decided to take on Rochester’s Neighborhood Energy Challenge. The couple took the free energy workshop earlier this week and signed up for a discounted audit.

"I thought it would be a great way to get more information about what the actual problems are,” said Drumm.

Energy auditor, Greg Ernst says with the cold temps on top of the propane shortage, "The last couple weeks, phones have been ringing off the hook,” said Greg Ernst, with GA Ernst & Associates, Inc.

An audit involves evaluating utility bills and appliances as well as running diagnostic tests like a blower door to test air leaks. An infrared camera is also used to pinpoint problem areas.

"It's like wow, I had no idea. I knew that room was cooler, but to see where the airs coming in that was really neat,” said Ernst.

But the testing alone won't save you any money, you have to act on the recommendations to see a benefit.

"Everything is cash flow, we're trying to make the house more energy efficient so the customer doesn't have to buy as much fuel to heat or cool it,” said Ernst.

For Lynne and Tony Drumm, this is just the first step to creating a more comfortable and cost efficient home. “Information is always a plus, then you know you're putting your money in the right place, to accomplish what you want."

This is a team effort between RPU and Minnesota Energy. They've scheduled free energy workshops in different areas around Rochester for the next couple months. To find the next one click on this link.

Austin Public Utilities and Freeborn Mower Cooperative Services also offer home energy audits.