Home Energy Audit
Do you know how much energy your home uses and loses?
Right now your answer is probably “no,” but by the end of this blog post, you’ll know what steps to take so that you can say “yes!” But before we begin, let’s clarify as to what a home energy audit actually is.
A home energy audit helps identify precise locations of where your home is losing energy and what you can do to save money. It is recommended that a licensed, trained technician perform your energy audit as they are the ones can provide you with the most precise answers.
Your technician will be comprehensive and thorough when assessing your home’s energy use, examining your house room-by-room as well as your past utility bills. An audit is comprised of two parts: the home assessment and an analysis using state-of-the-art computer software. An audit should include the following:
- Explanation of the auditing process
- Checking for Leaks
- Examining Insulation
- Inspecting Furnace & Ductwork
- Blower Door Test
- Electrical Safety Inspection
- Exterior/Indoor Inspection
- Health and Safety Inspection
- Combustion Appliance Inspection
- Explanation of final analysis
While the first three tasks are pretty self-explanatory, you may be wondering what in the world a blower door test is. Well, we have the answer for you!
Source: Holtkamp Heating and Cooling
Although we recommend having a professional perform your audit, it is possible to conduct a DIY assessment of your home. While they are not as thorough, it is possible to pinpoint some of the most obvious areas to address. When doing a walkthrough of your home, complete the following:
1. Locate Air Leaks
You can solve this problem with caulking and weatherstripping. By reducing drafts, you can save anywhere from 5% to 30% annually, not to mention, you’ll feel more comfortable in your home. Use a smoke/incense stick to help you pinpoint the air leak near windows, doors, and utility entries.
2. Check Insulation
You could be losing a significant amount of heat due to low insulation levels. If you have an older home, it is likely that the builder installed insulation levels adequate to that day’s standards. The two areas the could benefit most from some insulation are your attic and basement.
3. Inspect Heating & Cooling Equipment
All heating and cooling equipment should be inspected annually. Additionally, if you have a forced-air furnace, check and replace filters as needed. Generally, filters should be changed every 30-90 days depending on occupancy, pets, and other factors.
If your system is more than 15 years old, it’s time to consider having it replaced as continuing to use an old, inefficient system will cost more to operate in the long run.
4. Appliances & Electronics
When and for how long you use an appliance or electronic device affects your monthly energy bill (duh). For this reason, if you don’t use an appliance or electrical device on a regular basis, unplug them after each use. Even if your electronics are turned off, they are still consuming some energy just by being plugged into the outlet. Additionally, consider changing the settings on a device to be more cost-efficient.
Fans use very little energy. Switch your ceiling fan setting to create an updraft, which will work to circulate the warm air throughout your house.
For more tips on saving money and energy this winter, take a look at our previous blog posts, which include:
- Cut Your Heating Bills in Half
- How to Prevent and Thaw Frozen Pipes
- 5 Home Heating Tips to Stay Warm All Winter
If you have any further questions on home energy audits or how to save money and energy this fall and winter, talk to the licensed, trained technicians at Boulden Brothers.