Last week PSE&G made an announcement that they would be offering free home energy audits from now until 2010 for a select few cities in NJ. Isn’t PSE&G a company that earns money from people using energy yet they want to help you save on your energy bill? Ok, where’s the catch? It’s right around the 3rd visit. Please read below:
From NJ.com, “Public Service Electric & Gas made a $40 million investment to help income-eligible customers in 25 New Jersey Urban Enterprise Zones receive free home energy audits. The program, which began last week and will run through 2012, will be offered to residents in Bayonne, Camden, Carteret, East Orange, Elizabeth, Gloucester City, Guttenberg, Hillside, Irvington, Jersey City, Kearny, Mount Holly, New Brunswick, Newark, North Bergen, Orange, Passaic, Paterson, Pemberton, Perth Amboy, Plainfield, Roselle, Trenton, Union City and West New York.
Energy audits include a search for air leaks in the home.Customers will also receive 10 compact fluorescent bulbs to help lower electric bills. A second PSE&G visit will caulk windows and air-seal attics. A third, follow-up visit for additional energy-saving measures will be partly paid by the customer, depending on income.” [Ok, so here’s the catch.]
I say this is brilliant marketing!How do you get people to buy more products and services from you? You sell more stuff to your existing client base. It’s that third follow-up visit PSE&G offers that will make PSE&G it’s bread and butter. Offer free presentations and analyses, get into the client’s home since they are not likely to return your cold calls, and do something for free. Then, once you’ve built trust, offer paid services and earn your ROI. There’s a lesson to be learned here! Are you getting it?
The announce of PSEG home audits comes at a time when many of the homes in New Jersey are struggling financially. It’s no surprised to me that the towns on the list for a free home audits are areas where foreclosure rates remain high, in which case, as an experienced Realtor, I have seen one too many outstanding PSEG bills. Why these towns and not others? What does PSEG hope to gain?
The average energy audit can cost $240-450 for up to 2000 square foot of which one an experience up to 30-50% reduction in energy consumption from an energy audit. Regardless of PSE&G intentions, if you live in one of these towns, the cost of having a free analysis is worth listening to another sales pitch or two, especially if you can save 30-50% of your energy use.
Energy Audit FAQs
Why Get a Home Energy Audit?
When it comes to saving energy, most people think that buying new windows or a new heating system is the best way to make their house more energy efficient. Most people think that spending more always saves them more, but when it comes to energy related repairs and upgrades that’s not always the case. Believe it or not, you can get more “Bang For Your Buck” by investing a few thousand dollars wisely than by buying new windows or upgrading your heating system.
How long does the Energy Audit Take?
The typical 2000-3000 square foot home takes between two and three hours. The size of the home, number of problems we find, the amount of information we review, and the number of questions you have will determine how long the inspection takes. If ancillary inspections are being preformed the inspection may take a little longer.
Should I be there when you do the inspection?
I strongly encourage you to be present. Getting a list of problems and going over them while I inspect your property are two very different experiences. Additionally, one of the advantages of using the infrared camera is that I can show you the air leaks and other problematic areas. Getting a photo is one thing, but seeing it first hand is an invaluable experience.
Why do you use an infrared camera and a blower door?
Infrared Cameras and blower door are the most powerful tools an energy auditor can use. Getting an energy audit without both of them makes it hard to identify the real problems your home has. The infrared camera helps us find air leaks, helps us determine how well your home is insulated, and helps us find other exterior envelope energy related problems. The blower door tells us the volume of air leaks and helps us find the leaks. If someone tells you they don’t use both of these tools then it’s time to find another inspector.
Doesn’t My Utility Company Offer Energy Audits?
At one point the local utility companies offered a limited energy evaluation. For the most part their inspection was limited to their checking your stove, water heater, and boiler to make sure they were working properly. The inspection took all of 15 minutes and there was no report. When electricity and natural gas got deregulated, the utility companies had to cut their budgets and they stopped offering this limited inspection.
I was told I can get a Free Energy Audits.
The people that offer free energy audits are making their money by trying to sell you oil or by selling you services they offer. Most of these inspections are done by oil companies that only inspect your oil burner.
CAN I DO MY OWN ENERGY AUDIT?
Yes. There are steps you can take to physically examine your house. You can search the web for tools that may help, and you can read books on how to save energy. However, a trained Energy Auditor will save you time, provide you with the professional evaluation that includes state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and thermal imaging to identify the problems that really count, and help you avoid costly upgrades that may be a waste of money.
To learn more about getting a Home Energy Audit from a 3rd party provider of home energy tune up company, call 411 Energy Services LLC at 201-735-7600 or 914-623-0326. For more information on PSE&G’s home audit and energy efficiency program, call (800) 854-4444.
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