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3 Ways to Energy Audit Your Own Home

home energy audit
home energy audit
eere.gov

With the prices of energy costing more and more each year, making your home more energy efficient is great way to save money. You can hire a professional home energy auditor that usually costs from $200 to $500, or, you can do-it-yourself. Here are 3 ways to energy audit your own home:

DIY Energy Audit (1): The first thing to do is start a list and make notes of each part of your home and each problem that you find. As you survey each room and every part of your home look for air leaks, gaps, cracks, holes, and places where air escapes into and out of your walls, ceilings, windows, etc… Air leaks can increase a home’s heating and cooling costs by as much as 5% to 30%.

Make your list of all areas to be surveyed one at a time:

Living Room
Family Room
Washroom
Kitchen
Dining Room
Den
Bedroom 1 Bedroom 2 Bedroom 3 Etc…
Attic
Exterior Wall North Exterior Wall South Exterior Wall East Exterior Wall West

As you walk through each area of your home, hold your hand next to each wall, window, baseboard, corner, wall plate, light fixture, door trims, etc... As you survey, feel for air seeping through. Also, look for daylight coming through gaps around closed doors and around window frames. If you see daylight coming in around your doors or windows, there is an air leak.

Write down very specific notes of each problem that you find, so you can prioritize them when you’re done and make plans to fix them in a certain order one at a time. Check all existing caulking and weather stripping to see if any needs to be replaced or if any is missing.

Along Baseboards
All edges where the wall meets the ceiling
Around window frames
Around Doorframes
Electrical outlets
Switch plates
Around pipes
Attic hatches
Electrical outlets
Around wires
Window- and wall- mounted air conditioners
Closets
Cabinets
Fireplace dampers
Mail slots
Storm windows

As you walk through and around your home, write down very specific notes of each problem that you find so you can prioritize them when you’re done. Remember, if you see any daylight at all coming in around your doors or windows, it indicates an air leak. Cracked caulking and worn out weather-stripping should be replaced.

DIY Energy Audit (2): If you are having trouble locating air leaks, the government recommends using a window or box fan to help in your efforts. First, make sure all the fans in your home are off. Make sure the exhaust fan in the kitchen is off, as well as, all bathroom exhaust fans, and any other fans in your home.

Next it is recommended to turn off all combustion appliances for safety, such as, your furnace and water heater. Next, place the window or box fan to blow out of a window in each room you inspect one at a time. This will help to create more pressurization in each room and help to create drafts by pulling air through each crack, gap, or hole.

Here is what to look for as you inspect the exterior of your home:

Check for cracks in siding, mortar, or bricks.
Check the foundation where it meets the exterior walls.
Inspect your soffit vents (located under the eaves) to see if they are plugged or dirty.
Inspect all your roof attic vents: metal roof vents, exhaust vents, wind turbines.
Check where the chimney meets the siding.
Look for holes or penetrations around pipes or faucets.
Check for air gaps around electrical boxes, outlets, or wiring.
Check the exterior caulking around windows and doors.

DIY Energy Audit (3): A third approach to doing your own home energy audit, and it’s an excellent approach, requires you to purchase a device called a “Thermal Leak Detector”. One popular model is the “Black and Decker TLD100” thermal leak detector. It sells online for around $40 from amazon.com and runs about $10 more than that at your local home improvement center.

Thermal Leak Detectors are a handheld device that you point and aim at any given location of your house and it will give you a temperature reading. For an accurate reading, you want to be within 6 inches of your target area.

Thermal leak detectors are excellent for detecting heat and cold entering your home. Take readings throughout your home: around the corners and edges of windows, doors, closets, attic access doors, ceilings, electrical outlets, light fixtures, etc… You will be amazed what you can discover.

With a Thermal Leak Detector, you can determine where to add caulk, weather-stripping, insulation, and find out just how energy efficient your windows and doors are. It will definitely show you where to add solar screens, blinds, drapes, etc…

This topic and over 60 other energy-saving topics are explained in my new book, "How to Lower Home Energy Bills: From A to Z", available through amazon.com. The $15 book can help you save $200 a year without spending a dime, save $300-$500 per year with a few minor home improvements. It also explains how to cut energy bills in half and how to go off-grid. The book is available at this link: How to Lower Home Energy Bills: From A to Z.

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