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Free home energy audit.

One way to help reduce that the cost of electric, heating and gas bill is to get free home energy audit. The service is available from a number of non-profits as well as corporations. Most utility, gas, and power companies provide their customers with free energy audits as well as kits to help them immediately save money. These services are free to both renters and homeowners. Find a free energy audit near you and learn how the process works.

While exact amount (both dollar and percentage) of savings vary, most people will save anywhere from 10 to 30% on their monthly utility bills – and there is no cost to the customer. This is also a form of recurring savings, meaning the homeowner/renanter will save money each and every year. they live in the property. While the median/average monthly utility bill varies based on where you live and the type of energy used, utility costs are a significant part of a homeowner's monthly budget. Any money saved can make a big difference in any family’s monthly budget.

Improving energy efficiency and reducing waste can cut monthly bills by as much as 30%. It is possible to save on heat, air conditioning, and just general electricity. The first step to saving money is to obtain a free home energy audit sometimes referred to as a home energy assessment.

How energy audits work.

Many utility companies across the country offer free, in-person home energy audits to their current customers. There are no income, age or other restrictions – anyone can sign up for one. It is as simple as calling your utility provider and speaking to customer service. Find examples of what the nation’s largest utility companies offer near you below as well as contact information.

During an audit, a certified contractor will walk through the home and perform an inspection. They will review the efficiency of heating and cooling equipment, the hot water system, insulation levels and air infiltration and ventilation systems. The inspector will look for air leaks or drafts and inspect ductwork, appliances, lighting sources and windows. Audits can require anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours to complete, depending on the size of the home or apartment, the age of  the property and other factors.




Following the energy and - inspection, homeowners are given detailed reports suggesting ways to improve the home's energy performance as well as information about rebates and special financing that may be available from the utility company or other sources (such as state or federal government programs) to help cover the cost of upgrading the home to make it more energy efficient.

The upgrades often begin with a free energy savings kit provided by the utility following a home audit. The kit may include LED lightbulbs, weather stripping, showerheads designed to reduce hot water use and power strips. Programmable thermostats are often provided, for free, in cold weather states. Simply changing from incandescent to LED or compact fluorescent bulbs, sealing air leaks and eliminating drafts with weather stripping can begin saving you money immediately.

Find utility company energy audits near you

In general, most utility companies will offer an inspection for free with a certified contractor. Find more details below for the major providers, with links to and contact information for most companies. However some companies do not offer the service directly, but rather they give the customer a “do-it-yourself kit” in which you inspect your own home using a checklist provided by the utility. Some companies offer an enhanced do-it-yourself option in which you share the results of your walkthrough via video chat with a certified contractor who will review the information and suggest improvements.

If your utility company does not offer a free home energy audit, it is always possible to hire someone to do it. In-person home energy audits can cost between $300-700 if you hire a private contractor to inspect the residence. However, many utility companies still offer low-cost or free in-person audits. While not always as thorough as a private contractor audit, the free assessment is still a valuable way to begin reducing your energy costs. Or find how community action programs help with energy bills and home inspections.





When looking for a free energy audit near you, it's wise to stick to local utility companies, non-profit agencies and government programs. Be wary of other options. As an example, getting an energy audit offered by a window company or a business that sells appliances will more likely be designed as a sales pitch to get you to buy new windows and appliances rather than giving you a fair and unbiased assessment of your home's energy usage.

The best place to start looking for a free home energy audit is at your local utility company. The following are just a few examples of the types of programs available in various regions. These are offered simply to suggest the types of services and the benefits that may be available to you. When contacting a company for a free audit, you should always ask about what services will specifically be included in the audit and what products might be available to you as a result.

Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) as well as all utilities in Montgomery County, Maryland offer a free "Quick Home Energy Check-Up". While not as detailed as a full energy audit, the check-up involves a personal inspection by a contractor who creates a detailed report and provides smart strips, wraps for water heaters and pipes, light bulbs and efficient showerheads free of charge. Continue to get help from BGE - Baltimore Gas and Electric.

Free home energy auditDuke Energy operates in 6 states and offers many of its customers a home energy assessment and an Energy Efficiency Starter Kit, valued at $180, for free. The starter kit includes LED lightbulbs, a showerhead and weather stripping to help customers immediately begin reducing energy costs. More on assistance from Duke Energy.

National Grid provides New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts customers with natural gas and electricity for homes and businesses. The company offers a virtual no-cost home energy assessment that includes collaboration with an energy specialist by phone or video chat. In-home assessments may be available for special, limited circumstances.

The specialist creates a customized report and also ships many energy-saving products to the homeowner free of charge. These may include programmable thermostats, faucet aerators, power strips and showerheads.

Based on the assessment, homeowners can also qualify for no-cost air sealing services, 75% or more off approved insulation improvements and up to $2750 in rebates for installing qualified heating, cooling and water-heating equipment. Information is also provided on how to qualify for 0% interest loans for energy-efficiency improvements. More on National Grid assistance for customers.

PSEG is a power company operating in NJ as well as part of NY. PSEG Long Island offers free home assessments as previously described. Homeowners can also take advantage of enhanced rebates and financing provided by New York State to reduce the cost of energy upgrades. Call Long Island PSEG at 1-800-692-2626.

The company also operates in New Jessey. Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G), a subsidiary of PSEG, is one of the largest combined electric and gas companies in the U.S. serving more than two million customers in New Jersey. The utility offers free energy assessments that may result in no-cost upgrades for insulation, air sealing, ductwork sealing, refrigerator and water heater replacement, smart thermostat installation and tune-ups to heating and cooling equipment. Find details on PSE&G Public Service Electricity and Gas assistance programs.







Pacific Power of Oregon offers a free online home assessment. While you conduct the inspection yourself, you can then consult by phone with a Home Energy Advisor about specific upgrades or just ask general questions. Energy Trust maintains a list of cash incentives available for making energy-saving home improvements. Their "Savings-Within-Reach" program offers even greater incentives to lower-income homeowners for the installation of insulation, heat pumps, furnaces and more. More on Pacific Power Oregon assistance programs.

Almost every major utility company offers home audits near you as well or free conservation programs. Or they provide kits to help customers save money, provide grants or payment plans and more. Select a utility provider below for more details. Or call your company.




State and federal government energy audit programs

Many utilities offer a "Home Performance with Energy Star Assessment” for free as well. Energy Star is a government-backed symbol for energy efficiency. The program is followed by both the federal government as well as all 50 states, including yours. When you purchase an Energy Star product, whether an appliance, HVAC system, light bulb or anything, you are getting an item that has been designed to provide efficient performance and protect the environment. While savings vary, Energy Star products can be anywhere from 10 to 50% more efficient (those less costly) than other items.

In the past 30 years, Energy Star and its partners have helped American families and businesses avoid more than $500 billion in energy costs. It is estimated that over 40% of American homeowners or renters have purchased these items in the past. For example, an Energy Star certified lightbulb lasts up to 15 times longer saving about $55 in electricity costs over the life of the bulb because it uses 70-90% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.





While the program works with hundreds of private contractors, some utilities utilize the program to offer customers free home audits. More than 800 utilities, state and local governments and non-profits employ Energy Star® in their efficiency programs. (This makes up over 90% of the largest utility providers in the country). You can go online to enter your zip code and find utilities in your area that offer the Energy Star program at

Another source to check for free assistance is your state's home weatherization agency. Most programs are run by (1) community action agencies near you or (2) social services. Weatherization programs are typically funded by the federal government but operated at the state level. The focus of these free home energy audits is on low-income homeowners, the elderly, or disabled - so there are more restrictions.

State weatherization programs assist low-income residents to save fuel and money by providing health and safety repairs, installing insulation, repairing heating systems and providing other services designed to increase energy savings. Find free weatherization energy saving programs.

Gas and electric company home audits are an easy way to reduce utility bills

Everyone benefits from improved energy efficiency, and no budget is too small to begin making home improvements. A no-cost home-energy assessment from your local utility may not simply give you free tips and advice. You may also receive more than $100 in free items to begin saving money on your power bills immediately.

Maybe the best thing is many/most utility companies near you provide these home energy audits for free to their customer. Improving the energy efficiency of your home will not only save you money but will also increase your comfort during both cold and hot seasons while helping to improve the overall environment.


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By Jon McNamara

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