It’s a good idea to do a simple walkthrough of your home to spot problem areas that might be costing you extra on your energy bill. While it is recommended that you hire a professional to do a more thorough examination, a simple do-it-yourself energy audit of your home can help you identify some easy fixes.
Keep a list of any problem areas you have identified when doing your walkthrough. You can then refer to this list when deciding upon which upgrades you will want to do first in order to achieve maximum energy efficiency.
Just because your home isn’t very old or even brand new doesn’t mean that there aren’t any opportunities to save on your monthly bill. Technology designed to save energy is advancing so quickly, even some of the most reputable home builders aren’t able to keep up with its implementation.
Identify Possible Air Leaks
Most of the time, air leaks in the home are easy to identify as they are felt in the form of drafts. Not only can you potentially save as much as 20% on your energy bill every year by eliminating drafts in your home, you will also make your living space more comfortable.
Common places to find air leaks within the home are windows and doors. you may also find they are coming in from around the plumbing or lighting fixtures, as well as electrical outlets or switches. A fireplace damper that is open can be a major source allowing air-conditioned air to escape.
Seal the Leaks
Once you identify potential sources of drafts, you can use caulk and weather stripping to seal them up. These materials can easily be found at your local hardware store for cheap and can make a big difference when it comes to saving energy within your home.
If the level of insulation within the various areas of your home is not adequate you could be losing a lot of heat energy through the walls, ceiling, and floor. Your home was most likely built following the insulation guidelines that existed at the time of its construction. However, as energy prices continue to rise, your home may benefit from additional insulation. This is especially true if your home was built before 1980.
If you have a hatch leading to the attic that is within the conditioned space of your home, you will want to make sure that it is well-insulated. You may also want to consider the use of weather stripping to achieve an airtight seal, and ensure that the hatch closes properly. Make sure that the openings around pipes or ducts going into or leaving the attic are well sealed. You can use caulk or an open-cell spray foam for this.
If the floor of your attic is insulated, you will want to make sure that there is a vapor barrier underneath. If you discover there is no vapor barrier protecting the insulation in your attic, consider using vapor barrier paint on your interior ceilings. This will prevent any water vapor in your home from passing through the ceiling and damaging the insulation in your attic.
Checking the insulation within your walls can be somewhat difficult. One option is to remove the plastic cover around an electrical outlet after it has been disabled by switching it off on your circuit breaker. Once you have removed the cover and you are sure the outlet is not receiving any power, you can use something to probe around behind the wall. You might consider a wire coat hanger for this purpose. If you feel any resistance, you know there is some insulation there. You may also consider making a small hole in a place that won’t easily be noticed, such as within the closet to see if any insulation exists there. Unfortunately, these methods will not give you complete information about how well your walls are insulated, you will need to perform a thermographic inspection if you want more complete information.
Audit Home Lighting
About 10% of the energy you use in your home comes from the lights. You can easily switch out any old inefficient incandescent bulbs with new highly efficient LED bulbs. be sure to check with your utility company to see if you may be eligible for any rebates on any energy-efficient lights that you may have purchased. You may also consider reducing electricity used by lights in your home through the use of automatic sensors or timers.
Audit Electronics and Appliances
We all have a variety of electronics and appliances in our homes. How you use these devices will have an impact on your overall energy usage. There are a few strategies out there that can reduce the energy that electronic devices in the home use.
- Consider purchasing new and updated devices with better energy efficiency
- Unplug your devices when not in use
- Change the settings to use less power of don’t use them as often
- Use an app to monitor the energy consumption on devices within your home
Hire a Professional
While these strategies can be great for identifying some simple fixes you can do within your home, it is not a substitute for a more thorough inspection performed by a professional. A certified auditor will come with all the tools and expertise to dive deep into your energy-saving strategies with you and help you to formulate a custom plan for maximum performance.