Touring an open home is for more than just getting a feel of the neighborhood and mapping out where your furniture can go. It’s also your opportunity to find nasty energy red flags that can end up costing you in the long run.
Houses develop smells over time, no matter what you do. But they shouldn’t have damp or musty smells. If a house does, there could be leaks possibly caused by poor plumbing, or poor sealing in the walls, both of which can cause high utility bills.
Cracks in the paint, warped baseboards
Just like funky smells, cracks in the paint or warped baseboards can indicate potential leak issues.
Windows can be a trouble spot in a lot of homes, so be sure to check they all open, aren’t cracked, are sealed properly, and ask the real estate agent if they are double-glazed. Windows can leak out the climate controlled air of the house, using more energy to keep it comfortable.
If the property is being rented or sold with appliances, check to see if they’re fairly modern, or if they have their energy rating displayed. Older refrigerators, washers, dryers, and HVAC systems were not bound by the more efficient energy regulations of today, and may end up costing you more to run them.
Lack of insulation and weather stripping
Just like old appliances, older homes we’re also not bound to the same energy efficiency standards of today. This could mean that some properties will have insufficient insulation and weather stripping for today’s standards. Ask the real estate agent if they are able to provide more information on the houses insulation.
Is each room the same temperature?
Pay attention to the temperature of each room in the house, and take note of what sort of climate system is in each room. Some homes may have temperatures that vary greatly from room to room, so you end up spending more to heat sections than you have to.
Check for routine maintenance
Simple things like changing air filters or changing to LED light bulbs can result in surprising energy savings. Pay attention to see if these small things are up-to-date, and if not, ask your real estate agent if they will be done before someone moves in.