Buyers: Energy-Related Questions You Should Be Asking While Viewing A House

Energy-efficient homes aren’t anything new, but it is an important issue that we think needs to be more top of mind with buyers. Its one of those things that just make sense, not only does it help you reduce your monthly bills but it also helps the environment.

The list of energy efficient upgrades a homeowner can make to their home is robust, so here are 5 questions you can ask the listing (or buyer) agent while touring a home you’re interested in.

Energy-Related Questions To Ask When Viewing A Home

  1. What are the monthly utility costs? 
    The answer to this question is a good indication of how energy efficient the home is. If there are certain areas of the home that require more heating or cooling due to poor insulation, energy costs will inevitably be higher. If you’re upgrading in size or from a condo to a home, the appropriate monthly amount may not be intuitively obvious to you; it’s a good idea to consult your Realtor, who should be knowledgable about utility costs in the region.If the answer is high, follow it with this question:
  2. Where are the areas in the home with poor insulation? Have any actions been taken to fix the issue?
    Don’t be afraid to dive deeper with these questions. It can uncover some nasty truths, such as the entire attic needing to be reinforced. It’s good to have this information to give you the opportunity to negotiate with the seller a credit for the impending work, have them fix it prior to closing, or at the very least be prepared to budget for repairs in the future.
  3. Have they invested in any energy-efficient appliances?
    Energy-efficient appliances offer increased performance, lower utility costs and often times, superior design and technology.
  4. How old are the windows? What kind are they?
    Heat gain and heat loss through windows account for 25%-30% of residential heating and cooling energy use, so it worth knowing how efficient they are in the home you’re viewing. If the windows are in good condition, you can take a look at the following items to improve their efficiency:

    1. Checking them for air leaks
    2. The Caulking and Weatherstrip
    3. Adding window treatments or coverings
    4. Adding storm windows or panels
    5. Adding solar control film
    6. Adding exterior shading such as awnings, exterior blinds or overhangs
  5. Is the water heater tankless?
    This investment that ranges between $1,000-$2,800 increases efficiency from the 82-98% efficiency compared to the conventional 57-70% efficiency.

For more information on energy efficient homes, visit Windfall Energy Solutions.

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