Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the major reasons to consider an energy audit?

  1. An energy inefficient house costs more than it should to heat in winter and cool in the summer. An audit will uncover the problems that if addressed can save the average homeowner up to 30% on heating and cooling bills.

  2. A cold and drafty home compromises the comfort of people and pets living inside.

  3. Health and safety issues are addressed in a comprehensive energy audit.  Energy audits often lead to the discovery of moisture and venting issues that trigger breathing problems and promote illness.

  4. Not all energy is renewable. New Jersey’s Office of Clean Energy (NJOCE) Home Performance with Energy Star Program offers substantial rebates and tax credits to homeowners interested in making their homes more energy efficient.  There are multiple rewards for taking the initiative to conserve and protecting the interest of future generations.

  5. When we fix energy inefficiencies we reduce our dependency on energy imports.

Why is it important to act now?

Until June of 2015, the NJOCE Home Performance with Energy Star Program is offering rebates of up to $5,000 and the incentive of 0% interest financing for up to $10,000 if you qualify.

The first step towards qualifying for these incentives is a Home Energy Audit by a NJOCE approved contractor like Home Energy Matters. 

There are currently no application fees or closing costs, and the loans do not require a down payment. 

What does an audit involve?

There are three steps to an audit-Inspect, Detect and Protect

A comprehensive energy audit begins with our certified auditors spending two to two and a half hours inspecting the building envelope and interior rooms of your home. They are looking for air leaks, ventilation problems, inadequate insulation among other energy inefficiencies and safety issues.   The inspection includes sophisticated testing equipment that evaluates and measures factors far beyond what can be assessed with only a simple walk through your home. 

Through the use of their extensive training, acquired knowledge and scientific testing our auditors will detect the root causes of your home’s energy inefficiency, and your family’s comfort, health, and safety issues.

Our auditors evaluate the findings and calculate where and how you can save energy. They will even be able to tell you how much energy you can save.  Together you will build a project that Protects your family’s future, financially and environmentally.  And ensures your home is comfortable, safe and healthy for everyone who lives or visits there.

Why is health and safety testing part of an energy audit?

A surprising number of homes have malfunctioning combustion appliances that can cause injury and harm to you and your home. Our BPI accredited auditors have been trained to inspect and test furnaces, ovens, and water heaters for proper performance to help ensure safe operation. During the audit they will measure levels of carbon monoxide produced by the appliance to ensure that potentially dangerous combustion gases are not venting into your home.  They are also on the lookout for asbestos, lead, mold or moisture issues, and fire hazards caused by frayed, worn or improperly capped electrical wires.

Why does air sealing matter?

Air escapes and enters houses through cracks and holes in the building envelope and you are paying to heat and cool all of it. Using a blower door, manometer and smoke gun, we isolate both visible and hard to see cracks and holes that allow this air infiltration.  Then, using a combination of general purpose and special high temperature caulks, and various dry and foam based sealants we close these holes to ensure your expensively heated and cooled air remains inside.

Why does ventilation matter?

Ventilation systems help your house “breathe” by ensuring a steady and healthy supply of fresh air.  A properly installed and functioning ventilation system will remove moisture from the air.  Uncontrolled moisture can create mold, mildew and condensation problems.

Ventilation also helps eliminate potential indoor air pollutants, cooking odors or stale, stuffy air. They are vital to the health and comfort of people and pets living inside a home.

What major appliances are important in home energy efficiency?

Your water heater, furnace and air conditioner are the most important appliances to factor in when you are trying to save energy and lower utility bills.

Depending on its age and specifications, your boiler or furnace can be replaced with a higher efficiency model or a unit that runs on a different more efficient or cost effective fuel.  Your water heater tanks should be insulated or replaced with a more efficient model and any hot water pipes that run through a cold basement should be insulated.

Do doors and windows matter?

Currently the Home Performance with Energy Star Program does not allow for the inclusion of new windows and doors as part of a rebated project’s eligible measures. However, it is important to have well-insulated, high performance windows and doors. They may improve comfort and reduce condensation and replacing very old windows and doors may lower utility costs.

Here are a few helpful tips:

Look for the ENERGY STAR symbol to identify the most efficient windows, skylights and sliding glass doors.

When buying new windows, consider U-value and Low-E coatings. U-value is the measure of the window’s ability to insulate. Lower U-value means less heat flows through the windows. Low-E (low emissivity) window coatings are thin and transparent, permitting visible light to pass through, while effectively reflecting radiation-keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

What makes a product ENERGY STAR rated?

ENERGY STAR® products are the same or better than standard products, but they use less energy. To earn the ENERGY STAR, they must meet strict efficiency criteria set by the US Environmental Protection Agency or the US Department of Energy. These product use less energy, save money and protect the environment.

For perspective, an ENERGY STAR qualified furnace offers a rating of 90% AFUE or greater, which is approximately 15% more efficient than the minimum federal efficiency standard.

What does an Energy Audit Cost?

 The cost of an Energy Audit ranges in price dependant on the size of your home. An audit ranges in price from $199 to around $400. If you decide to move forward on a project with Home Energy Matters, the audit fee is rebated back to you, and applied toward the cost of the project.

Who is eligible?

Currently all NJ homeowners who are customers of either public utilities, oil companies or municipal electric companies are eligible to take advantage of New Jersey ‘s Clean Energy Program.

**Rebates and incentive for oil and municipal electric customers are dependant on a different source of funding than that of public utility companies.  The eligibility for oil and municipal electric customers has at times been suspended when the funding has been exhausted. We always encourage our clients to move towards having us claim and secure their rebates as soon as they decide they want to move forward with the energy efficient upgrades.

Do I need to have a low income to benefit from this program?

No. This is not an income-based program. It is open to all homeowners regardless of income, as long as they have a residential account with a qualifying utility company.

How do I get started?

Call Home Energy Matters at 973-492-1890 to schedule an audit and learn how you can benefit from energy savings year after year and incentives and rebates now.

Why is the State of NJ funding this generous program?

Studies have shown that it is far more cost effective to pay homeowners to retrofit their homes and save energy than it is to add power plants and gas pipelines to meet increasing demand.  New Jersey is in the forefront of a national trend to develop the least expensive source of new energy in our country-the energy we waste!

Is Air Conditioning included in the incentives?

ENERGY STAR rated central air conditioners can be a part of the package of improvements that qualify for the rebates and incentives.  They are an eligible measure.

What are your qualifications to do this work?

Dorothy Stone, the CEO of Home Energy Matters has over 20 years experience as a licensed general contractor. She has designed and built over 26 homes and major additions.

All of our auditors have taken over 40 hours of specialized classroom and field training and have passed 8 hours of written and field tests to become BPI Certified Building Analyst and Envelope Professionals.  BPI, or Building Performance Institute is a national non-profit agency whose motto is “Raising the Bar in Home Energy Performance Contracting.” 

Most of our professionals have backgrounds in the homebuilding industry and everyone on our team brings invaluable work experience to Home Energy Matters.

Being accredited by BPI and enrolled in the NJ Clean Energy Program we welcome the regular quality control visits from both agencies. They quality control our work to assure that we continue to meet their exacting standards.

Home Energy Matters - 410 State Route 23 - Pompton Plains NJ 07444 - (973)492-1890