If you’re a savvy homeowner you’re most likely always looking for ways to save money and improve your home environment. Therefore, as a knowledgeable and eco-conscious homeowner, it’s an excellent idea to have an energy audit.
What Is an Energy Audit?
In essence, an energy audit on your home means focusing on the details, noting any areas of opportunities to improve the energy efficiency. For instance, the most obvious areas to begin looking at are your home’s insulation, windows, doors, lighting and appliances. In addition, you’d also want to check the water heater, pipes and heating and cooling system for any signs energy waste and inefficiency.
So how do you go about conducting an energy audit in your home?
There are two ways – you can do it yourself or hire a professional.
Do It Yourself
Doing things yourself feels great. First, get informed on what you’re looking for. Then, grab a pad and take notes on your findings as you go through your home in detail.
Following are few tips on what things to check during you audit:
Insulation is one of the most critical components in your home. It’s not just that pink stuff in your attic. When you inspect your insulation, check the attic, the walls, and the basement (if applicable). If you have an attached garage, there should be insulation in its ceiling to help keep the rooms above the garage warm in the winter and cool in the summer. This can help cut down the costs of heating and cooling significantly.
Lighting can consume a lot of energy. Replace all high-wattage incandescent bulbs for energy efficient ones. In addition, allow for more natural daylight to enter the rooms.
Windows and Doors
Windows and doors need thorough examination. Seal al leaks with caulk or weather stripping. Consider replacing old doors and leaky windows for high-performance ones. When buying new windows, look for those with a low U-factor. A lower U-factor means the window is more energy-efficient. Windows with a U-factor of 3.5 or below are an excellent choice.
Hot Water Heater
Hot water heaters can also account for energy waste. Make sure your water heater is covered with good insulation material, which you can get from your local home improvement store. Ensure that the hot water pipes are also insulated with foam. If the foam is worn, replace it.
Hire a Professional
When hiring a professional, make sure that they are a certified energy auditor. A knowledgeable professional will be very thorough in walking your home in detail and will most likely find things that you could miss. Energy auditors use special equipment for detecting air and heat leaks in your home that would be impossible for you detect on your own.
Some of the equipment used by home energy auditors is the infrared cameras that show heat loss in your home. Another equipment is the door blower test fans. These are huge fans that fit into your home’s doorway. The fan draws out so much air that the air pressure decreases inside your home. So what does this test tell you? The higher air pressure outside means that air will rush in through even the tiniest cracks in order to equalize the pressure, thus revealing air leaks.
A detailed editor will most likely ask to see your utility bills and review them with you. So I recommend that you get together the energy bills for the past twelve months. During your meeting with your auditor, make sure you mention any existing problems in your home, such as rooms or hallways that are always too warm or too cold.
Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire professional, a home energy audit is essential for savvy, eco conscious homeowners.