An audit is something we typically avoid. But a home energy audit is something that's good for actually good for you. It will show you how to save money on your home energy bills and improve the overall comfort of your home. Home energy audits provide you with an in-depth look at how your house works, where its losing energy and offers recommendations on how to fix the problems.
A professional audit by a certified home energy auditor uses high tech gadgets to determine the energy efficiency of your home. Using these gadgets they can actually see behind your walls and ceilings to find problems that you can't see with the naked eye. During their room-by-room examination of your home, they'll find every opportunity to save energy and money. They also check your heating and cooling equipment and your water heater to make sure they are operating safely and efficiently.
When they are finished, the energy auditor will sit down with you and go over the results of the audit. They should go over the report with you in detail showing you where your home is losing energy and explain how to fix the problems. Armed with this knowledge, you can pick and choose the energy efficiency improvements that you decide are most urgent and fit into your budget.
Your energy audit report is a great tool for selecting improvements that provide the highest returns on your investment. Instead of trying to figure it all out on your own, you now have a guide.
Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audits
Even if you are not ready to hire a home energy auditor, you can always take a shot at it yourself. True, you won't have all of the fancy gadgets and scientific data, but you can do a pretty good job yourself.
If you are determined to save money, doing a DIY home energy audit can actually be a lot of fun. You are going to explore every room in your home especially the attic, basement and crawlspaces searching for ways to save money. It's kind of like a very dirty easter egg hunt. Each and every hole, gap or crack you find is like a plastic egg filled with money.
While you're inspecting your home, take notes on the opportunities you discover. Make a list of the projects you plan to do and a materials list so you can get all of your shopping done at once. There's nothing worse than being in the far back corner of your attic and run out of caulk or Great Stuff. Remember…Work Smart. Not Hard.
The single most important thing you can do to save money on your energy bills is locating air leaks in your home and fixing them. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates up to 30% of your heat or air conditioning is lost through air leaks.
Finding air leaks can be a bit tricky, but the tools of the trade couldn't be simpler. You'll need a flashlight, a few incense sticks and a pen and paper or you can get fancy and buy a laser thermometer. It's always best to check for air leaks on a windy winter day because it's easier to feel the cold air rushing in. But some of the air leaks are so big you can do this anytime.
Take the lit incense stick and run it along the most common places for air leaks. Shine the flashlight on the smoke and watch for the smoke to start swirling around. If there is no air moving the smoke will drift up in an almost straight line. Any place where the smoke blows sideways or swirls immediately is an air leak. Write it down or put a piece of blue painters take next to the leak for later.