Whether you are a homeowner looking for home energy audits or someone who wishes to become a home energy auditor, you need to be wary of the scams that are doing the rounds. There are many home energy audit websites that have ads on their website selling home energy auditor certification programs that you can do from home or anywhere online. Be cautious as to who you trust.
What is a Home Energy Audit?
A home energy audit which is also known as a home energy assessment is the process by which a professional energy auditor can find out how much energy is being consumed by your household and what are the steps that you can take to make your household more energy efficient so you can get the maximum returns from the same resources. Such a home energy assessment shows you what are the problems associated with your household that need correction and which could bring about more efficiency once corrected. This can result in a lot of savings for any homeowner.
Finding and Selecting an Energy Auditor
Professional home energy audits include various inspections and tests like the Blower Door Tests, Thermographic Inspections, and PFT Air Infiltration Measurements. If you are new to this field and have never done a home energy audit before it is natural to not know much about these things, especially when there are a plethora of organizations who claim to know what they are doing but are essentially on the lookout to make some quick bucks and vanish into thin air. The first and foremost thing to remember is that there are only two organizations that matter the most when it comes to home energy auditor certifications and they are Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) and Building Performance Institute (BPI).
RESNET and BPI are both non-profit organizations and they don’t provide the training and certifications for becoming a home energy auditor on their own. They have their independent businesses but they are the ones responsible to accredit other training organizations in this field who train individuals to become energy auditors. RESNET and BPI provide quality assurance and set the standards that need to be met by other organizations who wish to provide energy audit training or carry out home energy audits.
Some of the trusted places where you can find an energy auditor include:
- The Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) provides a directory of certified energy raters and auditors that are located near your household.
- Your electric or gas utility may also be carrying out energy assessments or may recommend genuine auditors to you that you can safely trust.
Tips for Fraud Prevention
A lot of home energy auditor certification websites have ads that invite you to register for a certification course anywhere between $99 and $599. The ads have colorful photos of the materials which include 5 to 10 booklets, a CD-ROM, and the certificate that you will receive after you have completed the course. Some of the ads also show images of the training web pages of their software that you would be learning from. The ads promise you financial independence from the comfort of your home by clearing the courses online. None of these websites talks about essentials like diagnostic testing. Hence, if you are looking for training to become a certified home energy auditor make sure that organization is accredited by either RESNET or BPI as these are the only ones that have been specifically mentioned in the legislation.
Let us now look at the tips you can follow to prevent falling into the trap of such scams:
- If the certification program seems too good to be true, it usually is.
- Never give out your bank account details or any other personal details on any online site that does not seem trustworthy.
- If you find an energy auditor on your doorstep even without your booking an appointment or calling to fix a problem, ask them to produce their identification and provide their contact details and the agreements.
- There are also many door-to-door salespeople who try to lure you into registering for certification courses or get your home energy audit done. You can call up your local utility or grid to know about the genuineness of such an organization. You can even call the Better Business Bureau to know if there are any complaints booked against such an organization.
- You are not supposed to be charged for valid home energy assessments that are sponsored by your utilities. If the salesperson still persists, that is a warning sign.
- Representatives that are linked with National Grid, Mass Save Home Energy Services, NSTAR, and such other companies provide their identification when they visit your household and they don’t do so without a prior appointment fixed by you.