With a home’s energy bills continuing to rise and with no end to this in sight, maybe now is the time to consider a do it yourself energy audit. Of course you could hire a professional and may need to but there are quite a few things you can do prior to doing so.
To start you may want to consider where to look?
All the home systems and appliances that contribute to energy costs. Here’s the breakdown of a typical home’s energy usage that Energy Star references:
- Heating (29%)
- Cooling (17%)
- Water heating (14%)
- Appliances (13%)
- Lighting (12%)
- Computers and electronics (4%)
- Other (11%)
Self audits can solve many of the energy loses with easy fixes!
While the pros use special equipment to focus on hard-to-research aspects of a home’s building envelope and indoor air circulation, DIY audits can teach you—based on the questions they ask—to identify and address the numerous small ways in which your home wastes energy.
Since lighting, electronics, and appliances collectively account for nearly 30% of the average home’s energy costs, you can make an impact on your bills by replacing old appliances with energy-efficient replacements and simple fixes—plugging appliances into power strips versus wall outlets, making sure refrigerator doors are properly sealed and don’t leak air, and opting for a programmable thermostat.
Here is how to spot many of the issues a homeowner can easily correct.
1. Check your home’s exterior envelope—the windows, doors, walls, and roof exposed to outdoor air. Hold a candle or stick of incense near windows, doors, electrical outlets, range hoods, plumbing and ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, and ceiling fans in bathrooms. When smoke blows, you’ve got a draft from a source that may need caulking, sealant, weather stripping, or insulation.
2. Check insulation R-value or thickness. Where insulation is exposed (in an attic, unfinished basement, or around ducts, water heaters, and appliances), use a ruler to measure, recommends the DOE. Compare your results against those suggested for your region via an insulation calculator.
Although examining in-wall insulation is difficult, you can remove electrical outlet covers, turn off electricity, and probe inside the wall, the DOE notes in its DIY audit guide. However, only a professional’s thermographic scan can reveal if insulation coverage is consistent within a wall. Insulation can settle or may not be uniformly installed.
4. Inspect exposed ducts. They may not work efficiently if they’re dirty, have small holes, or if they pass through unfinished portions of the home and aren’t insulated. Look for obvious holes and whether intersections of duct pipe are joined correctly. Since ducts are typically made out of thin metal that easily conducts heat, uninsulated or poorly insulated ducts in unconditioned spaces can lose 10% to 30% of the energy used to heat and cool your home, says DOE. From HouseLogic, see link below.
Here are a few links to websites for more info:
Thank you for reading this post. If I can ever be of help in finding you the perfect property here in the Napa Valley, please email me at Curtis@NapaValleyAddress.com.
Your Broker Extraordinaire, selling Napa Valley Real Estate from its heart, Yountville.
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