Evaluating Energy Efficiency During A Home Inspection: What Home Inspectors Need to Know

March 28, 2023 | 
Energy efficient windows

As a home inspector, one of the things you may be asked to evaluate is the energy efficiency of a property. Whether your client is looking to save on their utility bills or minimize their carbon footprint, here are some factors to consider when assessing energy efficiency during your home inspection.

Defining Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is one of the most essential and powerful tools to combat climate change and create a more sustainable future. At its core, energy efficiency means using less energy to do the same job. For example, using an energy-efficient lightbulb produces just as much light as a regular bulb but uses substantially less electricity. This means that the same job or task is accomplished with fewer resources, which reduces our collective impact on the planet. To put it another way, Energy efficiency helps us save money while protecting our environment.

Why It Matters During A Home Inspection

It’s important that a home inspector evaluates energy efficiency when performing an inspection so the homeowners know how their house uses energy for budgetary purposes, and it could also signify a need for repair or maintenance. This evaluation is smart, providing information about the integrity of the heating and cooling appliances, wiring, insulation, and more — all things that homeowners should be aware of.

Additionally, energy-efficient upgrades may be eligible for tax credits, resulting in financial benefits to homeowners down the road. With these benefits, an energy efficiency evaluation is necessary during every home purchase!

How To Evaluate Energy Efficiency During A Home Inspection

During a home inspection, evaluating energy efficiency means evaluating how airtight the walls and windows are, looking into the age and condition of the heating system, seeing if extra insulation has been added to keep warm air from escaping, and more. All of these examples play an integral role in determining the energy efficiency of a property.

If possible, getting proof that appliances are an up-to-date & energy-efficient model or looking for ENERGY STAR labels is an excellent way to help further analyze the home’s energy efficiency. Furthermore, if available, examine the HVAC system maintenance records because a well-maintained system will be more efficient than one neglected or ignored.

Evaluating energy efficiency during a home inspection is simple as long as you know where to look and what steps to take! A deeper look at the home’s furnace, air conditioner, windows, doors, and insulation are great places to start.

Checking The Furnace And Air Conditioner

As a home inspector, it’s a part of your duty to ensure the safety and efficiency of a home, and a big part of that is checking the furnace and air conditioner. During your inspection, look for signs of proper ventilation and insulation. Closely examine the appliances themselves, making sure they are properly sized and in working order. Looking for signs of excessive wear or damage that could lead to costly repairs in the future will also be helpful when determining the energy efficiency of the units. Finally, try running tests to check energy usage levels and make sure there is no gas or carbon monoxide leaking from the system. A thorough inspection will help ensure the home is safe and running efficiently for its new owners!

If you’re sharing tips with the homebuyer, you can suggest that they change the filter for these appliances every 90 days to keep dust buildup from impacting their performance. Taking care of these tasks will help them save money on energy bills and prevent expensive parts from needing replacement.

Inspecting The Windows And Doors

An important aspect of energy efficiency is carefully assessing a home’s windows and doors to ensure they are up to code and efficiently sealed. Check for insulation around the frames, ensuring any cracks or gaps are properly filled with foam or caulk. You should also look for signs of water damage or air leakage caused by worn sealing material or improper installation.

If the home is older, you may suggest replacing single-pane windows with double-pane models to help reduce energy costs. You could also recommend weather stripping around the door frames and thresholds to improve energy efficiency in the home further.

Examining The Insulation

As home energy costs continue to rise and resources become increasingly valuable, examining the insulation in a home is essential for ensuring it is properly insulated and energy efficient. During the inspection, checking for drafts or air leakage and allowing cold or hot air through is standard practice.

Using specialized equipment to check the type, quality, and thickness of the insulation that has been used can also ensure that it meets industry standards for maximum energy efficiency. Finally, analyzing the house as a whole can determine if other aspects of construction or design may be costing the homeowner more money than necessary in utility bills.

The Benefits Of An Energy Efficient Home

Energy-efficient homes provide homeowners with many valuable benefits beyond just saving money. These include improved air quality and lower energy bills to greater comfort and quieter appliances. For home inspectors, these benefits are especially important because they can lead to satisfied customers and fewer challenges.

Additionally, when a home is well-insulated and can reduce energy consumption, it can extend its lifespan significantly. This can mean that home inspectors need to worry about fewer potential problems when conducting their inspections over time. Ultimately, an energy-efficient home can be a great asset for homeowners, as well as those who inspect it, which makes investing in one a smart move for both parties.

Tips For Making A Home More Energy Efficient

As a home inspector, one of the best recommendations you can offer to make a home more energy efficient is to switch out older appliances for newer or Energy-Star models. Look for refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers that meet these standards, as they are designed to use less power and significantly reduce the energy bill.

Additionally, you may want to look into replacing windows and insulation in the house. Installing double or triple-pane windows can provide excellent insulation against colder weather while reducing energy costs over time. Having properly insulated walls and ceilings can also prevent cold air from entering in the winter months, contributing to poorer home performance and higher utility bills.

Finally, advising homeowners to upgrade their HVAC systems is also essential when it comes to making sure a house is energy efficient; modern heating and cooling systems are more efficient than ever before and maintain better control over temperature with features like zoning. By recommending these relatively inexpensive upgrades, you can help make homes more energy-efficient!


Energy efficiency matters. Not only does it provide environmental benefits, but it can save money and make for a comfortable home. Home inspections are an important tool for determining the energy efficiency of a home and making sure that homeowners don’t overlook a potential issue.

The inspection should include evaluating the furnace and air conditioner, assessing insulation, and inspecting windows and doors. Other measures that can be taken to increase energy efficiency at home include using LED lights, unplugging idle electronics, weatherizing windows and doors, and looking into solar energy options, among many other cost-effective solutions. While energy-efficient homes might not come as standard in an area of town or neighborhood, taking the right steps now can bring financial gains in the future as well as the creation of a healthier home environment.

HomeGauge provides home inspectors with knowledge, tools, and guidance for how to succeed in their business and serves as the bridging gap between homeowners/real estate agents and qualified home inspectors. You can use HomeGauge home inspection software and business suite to help guide you through the complex home inspection process and to grow your business. If you’re an experienced inspector looking to scale up your business or a new inspector looking to learn more about the tools of the trade, contact us today for more information.

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