In this day of high energy prices, all Americans can agree that reducing energy consumption in our homes is a worthy endeavor. Whether you are just trying to save money on monthly energy bills or you are trying to reduce your environmental footprint, the best place to start is with a home energy audit.
If you are going to achieve impactful results through energy saving measures, it is important to understand the unique areas of your home that result in energy inefficiency. Shelling out top dollar for the best energy efficient windows can be a substantial waste of cash if your energy consumption problems result for an old, improperly maintained air conditioner. By assessing your individual energy usage, you can determine the best way to spend your money to reduce energy consumption and waste.
Because the green movement is so ubiquitous, professionals have now begun to offer energy audit services. These services are great, but if you are going to try to save energy for the long term, it is important that you understand the major areas in your home that result in energy waste. With that knowledge, you will also be able to assess the efforts of a professional energy auditor or any contractor that you hire during a future remodeling contractor.
The following steps can help your make large improvements in your residential energy consumption. These areas are the substantial sources of energy waste. Your home may only have issues with some of these aspects. After you conduct your own energy audit, you will be able to make the best decisions to reduce your energy consumption.
Identify Air Leaks
According to U.S. Department of Energy, reducing air leaks in your home can result in 30% energy savings during the year. In addition, eliminating air leaks ensures that your home is held at comfortable temperature in a more constant fashion. You should check for air leaks or drafts in all of the following areas:
- Along the baseboard
- Flooring edges
- Wall junctures
- Ceiling junctures
- Areas where two building materials meet
- Exterior of your home
- Outdoor water faucts
- Chimney ares
- Electrical outlest
- Door and window frames
- Make certain the attic hatch is insulated
- Check for a vapor barrier below attic insulation
- Make sure attic vents are not blocked by insulation
- Check wall insulation through a hole in closet or wall socket
- Inspect insulation between living space and unconditioned basements
Many of these leaks will be evident during a visual inspection; however, if you want to be more thorough, you can conduct a building pressurization test. Essentially, you need to turn on all appliances that blow air outside, such as your dryer, bathroom fans, and vents. Then light incense and pass close by common leak areas. Whenever the smoke wavers, you have a leak or draft.
Resolve Insulation Problems
Depending on when your residence was built, the construction contractor probably used the amount of insulation that was recommended at the time. If you are living in an older home, you are likely to be losing a great deal of energy because of inadequate ventilation. The following are key areas to check when it comes to insulation:
Inspect Heaters and Air Conditioners
Residential air conditioners and heaters are the largest consumers of energy. As such, it is important to inspect both systems annually. It is recommended that you conduct these inspections before the device will begin operating full-time. In other words, inspect your air conditioner in the spring and your heater in the fall. In this way, you can ensure that you realize energy savings throughout the entire cooling or heating season. If your system is more than 15 years old, chances are you could have substantial energy savings by hiring a hvac contractor to properly install a newer model.
Assess Lighting Sources
Residential lighting accounts for about 10% of our average home energy consumption. Light bulbs are the easiest places to make impactful energy chances. You should switch out inefficient light bulbs with efficient choices such as energy-saving incandescent, compact fluorescent lamps, or light-emitting diodes. Best of all, your electric utility provider may provide incentives or rebates for homeowners that purchase energy-efficient lighting.
By understanding the major areas in which energy is wasted in your home, you can make the choices that result in the largest energy savings per dollar spent. In addition, during the life of these changes, you will be able to identify when other inefficiencies develop. Being able to conduct your own energy audit ensures that you will always mitigate large energy bills.