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Start Saving Money with a Home Energy Inspection: An Interview with Jose Barrera of Westside Home Inspections

By Jose Barrera

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

I'm Jose Luis Barrera and I'm proud to offer expert property inspections in Los Angeles for buyers, sellers and homeowners. My company Westside Home Inspections serves Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, Mar Vista and most of Los Angeles County. With more than 13 years of experience in home improvement and home inspections throughout Los Angeles County, I give clients reports that are detailed, objective and easy to understand. I am certified as a home inspector by InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) and hold additional certifications as a home energy inspector, mold inspector, and pool and spa inspector

Can you briefly explain what a home energy inspection is?

A home energy inspection gives you important information about the cost of operating your home. To produce a home energy report, your inspector will collect over 40 data points related to home energy, then use an advanced energy calculator developed by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors to estimate the home's yearly energy usage, pinpoint potential energy inefficiencies, develop recommendations for energy improvements, and determine your potential energy savings. This report will tell homeowners if and where energy is wasted, if air quality is affected by inadequate ventilation or ineffective heating and cooling systems, and how operating costs can be reduced.

What are the basic steps for an energy inspection and how long does it usually take?

A certified home energy inspector will check windows, check the home's exterior for openings and ventilation systems, inspect the attic and crawl space to check for adequate ventilation and insulation, and verify that heating and cooling systems are operating properly. The length of a home energy inspection depends on the square footage of the home, and the type and quality of heating and cooling systems.

What are the main benefits for homeowners and residents who have a professional home energy inspection done?

The home energy report will give a home buyer a quick understanding of how much a home will cost to operate once they move in, where energy (and, therefore, money) is being wasted in the home, and what can be done to save energy and increase comfort. This report will help homeowners cut energy costs, reduce their use of natural resources and live more comfortably in their home. The average homeowner can save over $500 every year on utility bills by following the prioritized recommendations within the home energy report.

Who is qualified to perform an energy inspection and how much does it typically cost in Southern California?

Home inspectors who have completed a home energy course from a nationally recognized professional organization such as InterNACHI are qualified to perform energy audits to BPI standards. Costs are determined by the size of the house, the number of windows and doors and the type and quality of heating and cooling systems. In Southern California, the average cost of a home energy report for a 1,500 square foot home is $250.

What are some of the most common energy issues you've found in Southern California homes?

The usual problems found through home energy inspections are inadequate or improperly installed insulation, not enough ventilation in attics and crawl spaces, and the use of single pane windows. Correcting these three problems can significantly lower gas and electricity bills.

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