COOL TIP: Home Energy Audits in San Diego

You are beginning to get tired of sending SDG&E your hard-earned dollars and want to do something.   Our suggestion: stop using so much of the stuff that SDG&E sells you by getting a home energy audit.  Oddly enough, there are a number of state incentive dollars available to people who want to reduce their energy use.   And here’s the really little known fact:  invest $10,000 or so to improve your home efficiency, and you’ll get that money back in spades when you sell your house.  Yup, a 2012 study found that California homes labeled by ENERGY STAR®, LEED for Homes or GreenPoint Rated sell for 9% more than comparable, non-labeled homes and are on the market for a shorter time.   In short, a $10,000 investment into a $300,000 could net you a $30,000… addition to lower monthly SDG&E bills.  If you are a home-owner (or even a long-term renter), you really should make the investment of a few hundred dollars to hire an energy auditor to evaluate your home’s energy IQ.

What’s An Energy Audit?

A credentialed auditor will come to your home and conduct one of two legally recognized evaluations of your home:

  1. A Whole-House Home Energy Rater (also called HERS) which is a thorough evaluation of your home’s energy usage.   This evaluation includes:
  • Duct Leakage test
  • Door blower test
  • Combustion safety testing
  • Insulation inspection
  • Moisture testing
  • Infrared scanning for thermal defects
  • Appliance wattage testing

The HERS evaluation requires diagnostic testing and 4-6 hours by a certified rater.  It’ll cost approximately $400-500.  If you’ve just purchased a house, sometimes your realtor will alert you to a state program that pays for about half of the audit, so your out of pocket might be closer to $250.

2.  The other test was developed by U.S. Department of Energy and its national laboratories, the Home Energy Score™.   It provides home owners, buyers, and renters directly comparable and credible information about a home’s energy use.   It isn’t as complex and requires a one-hour inspection of your home.  It costs about $150-200.

According to,  A home energy audit costs anywhere from $100 to $1,650 with an average of $396. Most homeowners spend between $207 and $633.  Per square foot, you can expect to spend anywhere from $0.08 to $0.50 with a minimum of $100 to $200. Blower door and duct leakage tests run $150 to $200 when performed alone though only an additional $35 to $50 when combined with a basic analysis.  You can reasonably expect to save 10% to 30% on your utility bills after the audit recommendations have been completed.

Government incentives for Energy Audits

SDG&E incentives may be available.  Energy performance is becoming increasingly integrated into the real estate community, so if you are buying or selling a house, one of the first questions you should be asking brokers is about subsidized energy audits.

If you have limited  or low-income, you may qualify for a free home energy audit by applying online.

If you’d like to speak directly with someone to see if you qualify for the free or low-cost energy audit, you can contact:

You can also call SDG&E at 1-800-411-7343 to request additional information about subsidies for home energy audits.

And, if you don’t want to spend the money quite yet but want to learn more about what kind of improvements might be recommended by an audit, SDG&E offers a free online survey that is essential a home energy audit test.  By completing it, you’ll get a preview of what could reasonably expect the auditor would find.

How to Find an Energy Auditor in San Diego

There are a number of resources available to help you find an auditor.  For example,  Yelp and Thumbtack are websites that list and rate home energy auditors.  SDG&E has a slightly outdated page on its website that lists local companies that do energy audits.   Or just go to a search engine (e.g. DuckDuckGo, Google or Bing) and type:  “san diego home energy audit”.   You’ll find a number of companies looking to get your business.


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