With winter in full swing, you may be wondering about your home's energy efficiency. If so, you can schedule an energy audit, which is a home inspection that determines where there are energy leaks in your house.

There are various reasons to have an energy audit. Some home sellers get them done to tell potential buyers their properties are energy efficient. Other homeowners seek government rebates for energy upgrades and to save money on their gas and electric bills.

Whatever the case, an energy audit is in your best interest as a homeowner - and in some areas, it is required by law before you can sell your house. An independent auditor, who can be certified by the Association of Energy Engineers, conducts the audit. He or she will carry out several tests, which will include visual inspections, measurements and energy efficiency tests of appliances in your home. Additionally, the auditor will determine the airtightness of your house. The entire process can take at least two hours.

Some weeks after the audit, you'll receive a report from the auditor, which will also include recommendations for improving your home's energy efficiency. Some examples are upgrading your appliances, replacing your insulation or switching to low-flow toilets.

If you're applying for government rebates, you'll likely be required to schedule a follow-up audit. This is to ensure you made upgrades that yield the energy efficiency improvements required for the program.

In addition to recouping some of your investment through rebates, you may be able to get some of the cost back when you sell your house. Some potential buyers will be willing to spend top dollar for a green home, especially if you have the energy audit paperwork to show the property's efficiency.