DIY Energy Evaluations: Steps To Improve Energy Efficiency
Professional energy evaluations conducted by a trained HVAC technician are the gold standard for assessing home efficiency. However, the average homeowner can perform an abbreviated DIY version to get a general idea of the home’s basic strengths and weaknesses. Some of the following easier, more accessible shortcomings may be items you can check on your own.
Feel for air leaks or use simple methods such as waving a lit stick of incense around suspected sources of drafts and observing the smoke stream. The gaps around the moveable surfaces of doors and windows are frequent leakage spots, likewise the long intersection of the baseboard and floor, as well as penetration points where pipes and electrical conduits enter the house. Outside, check the joint between exterior siding and the concrete foundation.
Eliminate air leaks around doors and windows by installing adhesive-backed foam weatherstripping and rubber or aluminum door sweeps under doors. Use caulking to seal leaks at joints as well as cracks in the structure. To close large gaps around plumbing pipes or conduits, use expandable spray foam.
Most homes with original insulation only can be considered under-insulated. Measure the depth of attic insulation between ceiling joists. In Delaware’s climate, the Department of Energy recommends up to 15 inches of fiberglass insulation or 13 inches of cellulose loose-fill. Make sure the attic side of the attic access hatch is insulated to the same level as the rest of the attic.
Check the model number on the equipment to determine its age. Improved units offering greater energy efficiency are available to replace an A/C or furnace approaching 10 years old. Look at exposed ductwork for signs of air leaks such as dust streaks radiating from joints or disconnected segments. Take note of any uninsulated duct spans in unconditioned zones like the attic or crawl space.
Sobieski Services offers professional energy evaluations to reveal the sources of high heating and cooling costs in your home.
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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