Home Energy Audits - How to Conduct Your Own Energy Audit at Home
Save Energy by Proper Energy Auditing
There is no doubt that energy audits are the best way to save energy, but it alone can’t save energy. Recommended improvements are to be implemented by you. Summer and winter months are the best times for conducting energy audits. The hub contains a number of useful steps by which you can save a lot.
Even though hiring a professional for energy auditing is the best way to find out where your home is losing energy, you can conduct your own energy audit and spot problems if any. It is very important in making your home more efficient. If you conduct your own energy audit it can help you assess how much energy your home uses and evaluate what measures you can take to improve efficiency. By knowing what to look for you can conduct your own home energy audit and save hundreds or thousands of dollars a year. Follow the below mentioned steps to get started.
Energy 101: Home Energy Assessment
Energy audit guidelines
Search for Air Leaks
Simple leaks can sap up to 30% of home energy efficiency a year. So take a close look at corners, around chimneys, attic hatches, along the foundation, edge of flooring etc and make a list of obvious air leaks. Don’t forget to check for leaks outside the house. Make sure good seals form around doors and windows, hot water pipes and furnace ducts are insulated and that no mortar is cracked. Any gaps or holes should be plugged or caulked.
Seal the Leaks
Plug and caulk holes or penetrations for faucets, pipes, electric outlets, and wiring. Look for cracks and holes in the mortar, foundation, and siding, and look for leaks around windows and doors. Seal them with the appropriate material. Learn more about selecting and applying caulk and weather stripping.
You must always be aware of the danger of indoor air pollution and combustion appliance "back drafts” while your home is sealed. Back drafts usually occur when the various combustion appliances and exhaust fans in the home don’t get enough air. A very dangerous and unhealthy situation is created when an exhaust fan pulls the combustion gases back into the living space. Make sure that the appliance has an adequate air supply in houses where fuel is burned for heating.
If the insulation levels are less than the recommended minimum, heat loss through the ceiling and walls in your home would be very large. Builders usually install the amount of insulation recommended at the time of building a house. But this may be inadequate especially for older houses.
Examine Heating and Cooling Equipment
It is the heating and cooling that accounts for the major part of energy load. So inspect your heating and cooling equipment annually, or as recommended by the manufacturer. If you have a furnace filter check them and replace them as needed. During the periods of high usage, try to replace them at least twice a month. Have it checked and cleaned once a year. Try to replace the equipment with a new one if it is more than 15 years old.
Examine the ductwork for dirt streaks, which indicates air leaks. So they should be sealed with duct mastic, tape or insulation. Your ducts should have a thorough cleaning by a professional if it is very dirty or worn out. You can also think of replacing them if they are in a very bad condition.
Selecting bulbs for lighting
About 10% of the electric bill depends upon the lighting system we use. Check the type of bulbs that are used in your house. Replace inefficient bulbs with the more efficient choice. Incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light - emitting diodes (LEDs) are some of the efficient ones.
Our energy usage and costs are greatly affected by the appliances and electronics we use. We must think of strategies for reducing the energy use of your appliances and electronics. In order to prevent phantom loads unplug the items when they are not in use. Always try to purchase new and more efficient products. Consider calling in an expert to complete a more thorough assessment if you have finished auditing yourself. This will greatly help the auditor to analyze your home and potential areas in a better way.
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