Home Energy Audits

Over the years, NorthWest Building Inspections has inspected thousands of older homes in the Seattle and Puget Sound area. People love these houses for their charm and a level of craftsmanship that is hard to replicate today. However, there is a downside to most older homes because they can be drafty and expensive to heat. With energy prices soaring, it's no wonder we are often asked by our clients what they can do to make their homes more comfortable and energy efficient. We advise them to start with a home energy audit (also referred to as a home energy inspection or home performance assessment).


While many things contribute to energy waste in the average home, air leakage in the building shell and leaky ductwork pose some of the greatest concerns. Some studies indicate that the average home loses 30% or more of its heat through leaky ductwork alone. During our inspections, we have actually seen many ducts completely disconnected from their intended heat registers and blowing into attics and crawlspaces. It's easy to see how the most efficient heating systems can be undermined by unsealed leaks. 


Houses are complex and altering one component with little regard to how it will affect the other interrelated components can lead to more trouble than nothing being done at all. For instance, what good would a new powerful and energy efficient furnace do if all the heat ends up leaking out through gaps in the ductwork? And what good would adding insulation do without first sealing air leaks? Speaking of air leaks, it is also possible to overtighten a house, which could lead to moisture issues and compromise indoor air quality.


Using specialized diagnostic equipment and tools and our extensive training and experience from countless home inspections, we take a "whole house as a system" approach to identifying the cause of these interrelated home performance issues. The result is practical solutions that homeowners can use to improve not only the health, safety and comfort of their homes, but reduce their energy bills as well. 


Our home energy audits include:

  • Pressurizing/depressurizing tests to locate air leaks in the house and ductwork
  • Thermal imagery to identify areas of missing or wet insulation
  • Assessing ventilation rates
  • Evaluating condition and efficiency of heating/cooling and water heating systems
  • Evaluating windows, doors, lighting and appliances
  • Assessment of other critical components of the home to increase energy efficiency, comfort, health and safety

Specialized equipment and tools we use on our home energy audits include: 

  • Calibrated blower door
  • Duct Blaster®
  • Infrared camera
  • Exhaust flow meter 
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) tester
  • Modeling software

Our narrative-style reports include:

  • Detailed description of findings, with emphasis on areas of homeowner concerns
  • Digital photos and thermal imagery
  • Estimated cost of key retrofits and associated energy savings
  • Recommendations for "targeted improvements" to maximize comfort, energy efficiency, health and safety


Because we are NOT contractors and do not sell any products or contracting services, we have nothing to gain by recommending unnecessary or expensive upgrades. You can rest assured that our findings and recommendations in our home energy audits are absolutely unbiased!



Click here, or call 425-220-7183