Yes You Can: Do Your Own Basic Home Energy Audit

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Want to reduce your energy bill? Sure, who doesn’t. But, you’ve probably read about all the usual stuff – turning down the thermostat in the winter, up in the summer, getting more energy-efficient appliances. What about an energy audit? That can point to less obvious ways to save money. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Home Energy

Hunt Down All The Drafts In Your Home

Check for drafts in your home by holding a stick of incense near windows, doors, and in corners of the home. Check along the baseboard and ceiling on all outside walls. When you see the smoke start to drift, it’s time to plug up the cracks with some caulk or sealant.

You’ll be surprised at just how much your house leaks – especially if it’s an old home (more than 10 years old), and if you live in a historic home, forget about it. The home is likely full of drafts. You’ll be busy for a while. But, when you’re done, you should experience a substantial savings in energy costs.

Reinsulate The Attic

Attic insulation is usually blown-in and pretty flimsy. After it’s settled, it’s time to redo it. If it’s batt insulation, you may want to give it a once over and check for gaps where air is making it through the seams.

Tune Up The A/C

Air conditioning units need to be maintained, and over time they’re going to get less efficient. One thing that will help is if you keep the leaves and other debris off the fan and compressor unit outside.

Have this AC repair company come and do some routine maintenance on it at least once a year, and you should be fine.

But, be aware that even when your A/C system doesn’t appear to be broken, it can operate at sub-optimal performance, which means you’re spending more money and getting less cooling power – obviously not good for the old electricity bill.

Look For Stains On Insulation

Stains on insulation mean water damage. In other words, there’s a hole somewhere behind that insulation that needs to be checked out and fixed. So, tear it down, fix it, and put in new insulation. Gaps can be filled in with spray foam insulation or sealant.

Inspect All Ductwork

Inspect ductwork for cracks and debris inside the ducting. About once per year you’re going to want to have someone come through and clean it out for you, but don’t get just a ductwork cleaning – get the entire system cleaned. Seal up your ductwork (if you do find cracks), and you should be good to go.

Look For Holes

Any holes in the wall where patching was either not done or not done well, should be patched up now. Sometimes, you find this sort of thing under the sink in the kitchen in an old home where plumbing was redone but the handyman never bothered to caulk up the wall around the pipes.

Other times, it’s an old renovation project that just never got finished up. Whatever it is, go on the hunt for cracks, crevices, and holes, and patch that stuff up.

Mary T. Sims is a home cooling contractor. She loves sharing her insights on home improvement online. Her articles are available mainly on DIY and homeowner websites.

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