By: Cami Lewis
Performing an energy audit can help you identify why and where energy is being lost in your home. Frequent causes of energy loss can be things like leaky windows, a poorly sealed attic, ductwork tears, invisible cracks, or improperly working HVAC equipment.
Do It Yourself
While a professional home energy audit is the best way to determine if and where your home is losing energy, you can start by doing your own simple but diligent walk-through and spot many problems. This DIY home energy audit won’t be as thorough (you don’t have all the gadgets and sensors the professionals do) as a professional assessment, but it can help you pinpoint some of the easier to address areas. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Keep a checklist of areas you have inspected and problems you found. This will help you prioritize your energy efficiency upgrades.
- Don’t assume that just because your home is new or recently constructed there are no opportunities to save energy. Technology evolves rapidly, often outpacing training commonly available to many builders.
Now let’s get started!
- Locate Air Leaks
Once you have found any leaks, you’ll want to seal them. Plug and caulk holes or penetrations for faucets, pipes, electrical outlets, and wiring. Look for cracks and holes around the foundation and siding, windows and doors and seal them with the appropriate material.
When sealing your home, you also want to be aware of the danger of any indoor air pollution. Some appliances and exhaust fans in the home compete for fresh air and even pull gases back into the living space, increasing indoor levels of carbon monoxide. This can obviously result in a dangerous or unhealthy environment in your home. Ensure that you have proper ventilation in your home.
- Check Insulation Levels
Heat loss through the floor, ceiling and walls of your home can be significant if your insulation levels are less than the recommended minimum. Especially if you have an older home, the level of insulation in your home could be less than adequate.
- Inspect Heating and Cooling Equipment
Inspect heating and cooling equipment annually, or as recommended by the manufacturer. If you have a forced-air furnace, check your filters and replace them as needed. Generally, you should change them about once every month or two, especially during periods of high usage. Have a professional check and clean your equipment once a year.
Energy for lighting accounts for about 10% of your electric bill. Examine the light bulbs in your house and consider replacing inefficient bulbs with a more efficient choice.
- Appliances and Electronics
The appliances and electronics you choose and how you use them affect your energy use and costs. Consider unplugging appliances when not in use.
- Make a Plan
After you know where your home is losing energy, make a plan to address the issues. Prioritize by greatest loss, keeping in mind your budget and how long you intend to stay in the home.
- Get a Professional Home Energy Assessment
Once you’ve done your initial DIY assessment, you may want to consider having a professional assessment. Xcel Energy may underwrite the costs of an energy audit by 60% when performed by companies like Reenergize CO
For more details on these 9 steps, and host of other resources, visit: www.energy.gov.
When shopping for a home, you’ll also want to consider these factors in your purchasing decision. At the Mama Bear Team, we are all about making sure our clients know all the relevant information as they go through the purchasing process, including reviewing your inspection and identifying potential energy issues.
Ready to buy a home? Contact the Mama Bear Team to get started!