How to Self-Energy Audit

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An energy audit of your home is simple to perform on your own. A quick but thorough walk-through can allow you to identify a lot of issues in any kind of home. Keep a record of the areas you have examined and the issues you discovered when auditing your home. You can use this list to prioritize your energy-efficiency improvements.

Look Into Lightings

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Your power cost for lights typically uses fifteen percent of your energy budget. Check the bulb wattage in your home. You probably have 100-watt bulbs or greater where 60 to 75 watts would suffice. For spaces where lights are left on for extended periods of time, you should also take into account compact fluorescent lamps. For buying energy-efficient lamps, your electric utility may give rebates or other incentives.

Check for Air Leaks

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Air leaks should be checked in windows and doors. Try to shake them if you can, as movement could indicate air leakage. When the area surrounding a window frame or door is lit up, the door or window is leaking. Usually, caulking or weather-stripping will stop these leaks. Make sure the storm windows fit properly and are in good condition. You could also want to think about buying new, energy-efficient windows and doors to replace your old ones. If purchasing brand-new windows or doors that are made in the factory is out of your price range, you can cover the windows with cheap plastic sheets.

A simple building pressurization test may be useful if you are having trouble finding leaks.

Close all windows, doors, and fireplace flues outside first. Turn off all combustion-based equipment, including water heaters and gas furnaces. In order to remove the air from the rooms, turn on the exhaust fans which are typically found in both the bathroom and kitchen or utilize a sizable window fan. By increasing leakage through gaps and leaks, this test makes it simpler to find them. To find these leaks, use your damp hand or incense sticks. Using incense sticks will result in the smoke wavering while using a damp hand will result in any drafts feeling chilly to your touch.

Probe Insulation

If the insulation levels drop than the advised minimum, your home may experience a significant loss of heat thru the walls and ceiling. Your home’s constructor most likely used the recommended quantity of insulation at the time it was constructed. The degree of insulation may not be appropriate given current energy rates and likely rising prices in the future, particularly if your home is older.

Photo: Pricewise Insulation

Check to ensure if the attic hatch is weather-stripped and closes securely. Check the attic to see if any holes for chimneys, ductwork, or pipes are sealed. Fill up any gaps using an expandable foam caulk or another type of long-lasting sealer. Verify that insulation is not obstructing the attic vents. Additionally, you need to insulate the whole attic floor with the suggested quantity of insulation and seal the ceiling’s electrical boxes with flexible caulk.

It is more challenging to assess the insulation level of a wall. Choose a wall exterior and remove the fuse from any in-wall outlets. By plugging in a working lamp or portable radio, you can check sure the outlets are not “hot” by testing them. Start removing a cover plate from any outlet once you are certain that none of your outlets are receiving any electricity and use a long stick thin enough to get through or a screwdriver to carefully check into the wall. You are guaranteed to have insulation there if you experience a small amount of resistance.

Inspecting Heating/Cooling Systems

Photo: Metz Air Control

Annual inspections of heating and cooling systems are suggested, or as specified by the manufacturer. Check your furnace filters. Replace them as necessary if your HVAC system has a forced-air part. Generally speaking, you ought to replace them every month following, especially during times of excessive usage. Once a year, have a professional inspect and clean your equipment.

You should think about upgrading your system with a more recent, energy-efficient model if it is older than 15 years. Particularly if the current equipment is in bad condition, a new unit might significantly lower your energy consumption. Look for dirt streaks in the ductwork, especially close to seams. These are signs of air leakage and need to be fixed using duct sealant. Any ducts that pass across unheated areas should be insulated. The minimum insulation R-Value that is advised is 6.

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