Get yourself a piece of paper and a pencil—actually, a clipboard looks most professional for this job—and go looking for trouble in your own home. You’ll want to create a checklist of where you looked and what you found, in order to prioritize any projects you need to undertake in order to optimize your home’s energy efficiency.
The components of your do-it-yourself energy audit should at a minimum include the following elements:
Look for air leaks around electrical outlets, light switches, windows, doors, baseboards, fireplace dampers, attic hatches and air conditioners.
On the exterior, look at all corners, any place where siding and chimneys meet, and areas where the foundation and exterior wall meet.
Does your home have adequate insulation in its walls, and is there weather stripping between the attic and the living space, or the living space and the basement, where the attic or basement is not heated or cooled? Attic insulation should have a vapor barrier underneath it. If a basement is unheated, there should be some insulation in its ceiling. An R-value of 25 is recommended.
Check your furnace filters annually, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Also, check your ductwork for dirt streaks that might indicate air leaks.
Consider the wattage of your light bulbs, with an eye toward replacing a 100-watt with a 60- or 75-watt bulb. Of course the most efficient bulb is the compact fluorescent lamps in areas where the lights are on for hours at a time.
We can help you improve your home’s energy efficiency in countless ways. Contact us for expert tips and advice, and be sure to visit our blog for more great energy- and money-saving ideas.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about efficiency and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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