Q A neighbor who lives in a house very similar to our house has lower electric and fuel bills. I can’t tell why I’m paying more than he is. What can I do to find out?


A Next door neighbors  The best way to find out why your house has higher energy costs is to have an energy audit done. But be aware that some energy audits –also known as energy assessments—are not as thorough as others. In many parts of the country, free or subsidized energy audits are available. Before signing up for one of these, make sure that the technician conducting the audit is certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI), and that a blower door test will be performed as part of the audit. Confirm that the audit will include an assessment of HVAC equipment efficiency and insulation levels throughout the house. A true whole-house energy audit should identify specific upgrades that are recommended to improve energy efficiency and cut your electric and fuel bills.