A do-it-yourself home energy audit is a cheap and viable alternative to one that is done by a professional. One weekend is sufficient to conduct a thorough inspection of your home and determine where improvements are needed to increase your home’s energy efficiency. The following guidelines will help you perform a thorough energy audit and save a sizeable chunk of your energy consumption and financial resources:
- Check for indoor air leaks, which are said to reduce energy savings by up to 30 percent. Move a damp hand over places where air can seep in, including electrical outlets, floor-and-ceiling junctures, baseboards, window and door frames, fireplace dampers, switch plates, foundation seals, mail slots, pipes, faucets, air conditioners and attic hatches. Close off all cracks and gaps by applying caulk or weatherstripping where needed.
- Use expandable caulk or any other permanent sealant to close any gaps that may be compromising your insulation. The openings of pipes, chimney and ductwork should also be properly sealed.
- Install a vapor barrier over your insulation material to minimize the amount of water vapor that can pass through to your home. Fiberglass batts, tar paper or a simple sheet of plastic are materials that are perfectly applicable for this purpose. Alternatively, you can use vapor barrier paint to paint the interior walls and ceilings of your home.
- Have a professional check and clean your heating and cooling system at least once every year. This includes an inspection of the thermostat, electrical wirings, safety controls and the various components of your HVAC system. Air filters also need to be replaced every month.
- Use the Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick to augment your energy audit. You need to enter the square footage of your home, the types of fuel you use and your electricity usage in the last 12 months. This online tool allows you to compare your home’s energy consumption with similar homes in the United States.
For all your home-comfort needs in the Delaware Valley region, contact the friendly pros at at Sobieski Services.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about energy audits and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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