If you’re serious about reducing energy use and improving energy efficiency in your home, the best way to identify ways that you might be losing or wasting energy is to hire a professional electrician to perform a home energy audit. However, you can start by conducting your own DIY energy audit to identify the most obvious problem areas and opportunities for improvement.
Here’s what should be on your DIY Home Energy Audit Checklist:
Look for Air Leaks
Not only are air leaks (drafts) a major source of home energy loss, but identifying and fixing any leaks will also help make your home more comfortable in the winter months. Air leaks can be found throughout your home. Look for gaps along baseboards, at the junctures of floors and walls or walls and ceilings, along the frames of windows and doors, and in the fittings around lighting fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets. Sealing air leaks can produce energy savings of 10-20%.
Proper insulation is a critical component of home energy efficiency. Walk through your attic to verify that openings around pipes, ductwork, and chimneys are tightly sealed. Check beneath the outer layer of insulation to determine whether there is a vapor barrier beneath. A vapor barrier reduces the amount of water vapor that can pass through the ceiling, potentially reducing the effectiveness of insulation and even causing structural damage to the house. The entire attic floor should also be covered with insulation. Inspecting your interior walls for proper insulation is more challenging and is best performed by an expert.
Perform HVAC Maintenance
Keeping up with regular maintenance of your home heating and cooling systems ensures that they continue to operate safely and at maximum efficiency. Replace filters regularly (about every couple months) and schedule seasonal maintenance visits with your trusted service provider. Bonfe’s Peace of Mind service plans include two annual maintenance visits during which a certified technician will inspect and clean your equipment to ensure optimal performance.
Go through your home and check what kind of bulbs you’re using. If you’re using fluorescent bulbs, consider switching to a more energy-efficient model, such as CFLs or LEDs. Lighting accounts for up to 10% of your electric bill, so it is worth the effort to swap old bulbs to improve efficiency. Energy-efficient light bulbs last 10 times longer and use 75% less energy, saving over $30 throughout each bulb’s lifetime.
The last thing you can consider during a DIY energy audit is whether it’s time to upgrade your home appliances for energy-efficient models. Replacing home appliances is a large financial investment, so it is up to you to weigh the cost/benefit of doing so. Study your monthly energy bills to determine how long it will take for your investment to pay itself back in energy savings. You may also consider the other benefits that come with updated appliances, such as increased home comfort and better resale value for your home.
If you would like to schedule a professional home energy audit, contact Bonfe today.