How to Perform a DIY Home Energy Audit

| 20 May 2015
How do you know if your home is leaking energy? Energy loss through leaks and other problems with your home can not only lead you to consume more resources than you need to, but also ramp up your utility bills. DIY Home Energy Audit But how do you know if you’re leaking energy? Professional home energy audits are one option, but you have another choice: Doing a home energy audit yourself. While this won’t be as thorough as a home energy audit done by a professional auditor, doing the audit yourself can help you find problem spots and patch up areas of your house where energy is leaking away – without your knowing about it. Consider doing your own home energy audit with these helpful tips! Hunt down air leaks Drafts are an obvious way for heat – meaning energy generated by your home heating system – to sneak out of your house. Finding drafts and closing them can also reduce your energy bill significantly and make your residence more comfortable. The places to look for leaks? Gaps in your baseboard, where the flooring meets walls, or where walls meet ceilings. Anywhere building materials meet is also a place where leaks can occur. If you find leaks, seal them up with plugs and caulking where appropriate. However one of the largest areas for air leaks is found in your windows and doors. Broken seals in windows, improperly fitted doors, and other factors such as age and general wear and tear can lead to extreme hear, air and general energy loss. The best solution here is to replace any problematic windows or doors. Trying at-home DIY fixes may lead to temporary solutions, but it’s likely that they won’t last long enough to make a difference to your energy bills. Wasteful lighting This is one most people don’t typically think about. Though it’s not the majority of your electrical bill, wasteful lighting will use more energy – and will cost you – more than it needs to. The solution here is to find more efficient bulbs, such as CFLs and LEDs. Many jurisdictions offer rebate programs for these highly energy efficient bulbs, so check for any rebate offers in your municipality. Insulation heat loss Lacklustre insulation is another area where heat can escape your home. Why? Many houses that were built years ago followed a lower standard when it came to how much insulation to use, which means that older houses will likely hold in heat worse in the winter, and keep out heat worse in the summer. One key area of insulation heat loss is the attic. Try comparing the amount of insulation used in the lower sections of your home to the amount used in the attic. While you’re up there, look for gaps around pipes, chimneys and ductwork, as these are also significant areas where heat can escape. Electrical appliances Many of our home appliances continue to use electricity even when turned off – so-called “vampire devices.” Things such as TVs, computers and home receivers are key culprits here, so consider plugging these devices into a power bar that you can switch off when not in use.
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