An energy audit can save you 5% to 30% off the cost of your heating bills each year. That’s a savings of up to $1,000 per winter!
An energy audit entails a series of tests that tell you the efficiency of your heating and cooling system and the overall efficiency of your home. On the basis of test results, the auditor will recommend low-cost improvements to save energy and larger upgrades that will pay you back within 5 to 7 years. Audits take 2 to 3 hours and cost $250 to $400, but if you set one up through your utility company, you may be eligible for a rebate. — The Family Handyman
Believe it or not, you do not have to hire someone to come in and do an energy audit on your home. You can do it yourself!
While many people do hire experts to come in and do an energy audit, this can cost big bucks. If you’re strapped for cash, then doing it yourself is one way to keep your cash in the bank.
How To Do Your Own Energy Audit
This way, when you go back through again a year or 6 months later later, you can note if these problems have been solved by the fixes you implemented, or if you need to try something else.
Plugging up air leaks can save you as much as 30% a year on your energy bills. Look for areas that commonly have air leaks — such as gaps under your front and back doors, or gaps around sliding glass deck doors, attic hatches, and the space around a window-mounted air conditioner, to name a few.
If you have an older home, then you can assume you probably don’t have enough insulation. While the builder would have put whatever was recommended at the time, given the high energy prices now, it is probably not enough. If the insulation levels are lower in your walls and ceilings than they should be, you could be losing a lot of heat in the winter and cool air in the summer — thus increasing your energy bills.
If any of your equipment is older than 15 years old, you should replace it with newer more energy-efficient units. Anything 15 years or older is not going to be energy-efficient and, in fact, could be costing you serious money. Also, make sure you change air filters as needed, and close off rooms that you are not using. Heating and/or cooling rooms not in use can be a big energy waster and increase the energy bill for your home.
The energy used for house lighting accounts for only about 10% of your energy bill. However, there are ways to cut down on your energy usage when lighting your home. A few examples are:
- using the new energy-efficient bulbs
- using florescent lighting when possible
- turning off lights in rooms you are not using or don’t need
These are just a few things to look for when doing your own home energy audit; they are the most common ones.
If you take care of any problems you may have in relation to these areas, you will seriously save money on your energy bill.
TIP: Utility companies are also notorious for giving away free energy-saving gifts and even doing free audits in some cities. Be sure to check locally!
- A Checklist For Doing An Energy Audit Yourself
- DIY Energy Audit Tips
- Video: One Family’s DIY Energy Audit (Part 2 here)
- Web-Based Energy Audit Tool
- DIY Energy Audit Tools
- A Home Energy Audit vs. A Home Energy Review