DIY Energy Evaluations: Get In The Know About Your Home’s Efficiency
A DIY energy evaluation is the next best thing to an in-depth home survey by an HVAC contractor. The DIY option can make you aware of shortfalls in your home’s efficiency that can be addressed by simple measures you can take yourself. Then you’ll have a better idea of the issues that need to be turned over to the pros. A DIY energy evaluation can be carried out on a weekend afternoon and doesn’t require specialized equipment or access to hard-to-reach areas.
Here are some problem areas you’ll want to focus on during your DIY energy evaluation:
- Air leaks – The list of suspects includes the perimeter of all exterior doors and windows, the joints between baseboards and floors and all the points where plumbing pipes, electrical conduits and vents enter or leave the home. Smoke from a stick of lit incense can be used to detect leaks in these areas. Hold it close to the suspected leak and observe the smoke stream for evidence of air movement. Close the gaps between moveable surfaces of doors and windows with weatherstripping. Use caulking to seal the smaller cracks in the structure. For large openings around pipes or vents, expandable spray foam is the best alternative.
- Evaluate insulation – If your home’s 10 years old or more, it’s probably under-insulated by current standards. Check easily accessible attic insulation. In Delaware’s climate zone, the Department of Energy recommends an attic insulation R-value of at least 38. That translates to a minimum of 12 inches of fiberglass insulation or 10 inches of cellulose loose-fill.
- Assess the HVAC system – Anywhere you can see ductwork, look for signs of deterioration. Uninsulated ducts in areas like attics or crawl spaces are another red flag. Consider the age of your existing furnace and A/C. If it’s a decade old or more, it can be replaced by a unit with more advanced energy-saving technology.
Sobieski Services offers professional assessments to take your DIY energy evaluation to the next level. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
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