As the new year approaches, most of us are vowing to make changes in 2017. Many of our resolutions have to do with our health - eat better, lose weight, get to bed earlier, exercise more. Why not take a look at the health of your home and your energy consumption? Resolve to make changes in the coming year to make your home more energy efficient, saving you money on energy bills.
One of the most comprehensive ways to figure out how much energy you use and how you can make your home more energy efficient is to schedule a home energy audit. According to the US Department of Energy, you could save five to thirty percent on your energy bills by making energy efficiency upgrades identified in your home energy audit.
To find an energy auditor in your area, start with your electric or gas company. Many offer home energy assessments, often at a discount for customers. You can also check online contractor referral websites or talk to friends and neighbors for recommendations.
When the auditor performs your energy audit, they will look in-depth at your prior utility bills. They will go through each room in your home looking for areas of leakage. This includes your attic, crawl spaces, and garage. The auditor will concentrate on areas that are most prone to air leakage - windows, entry doors, and any break in your home's envelope such as outlets, switch plates, and pipes that enter the home. They use specialized equipment such as infrared cameras, furnace efficiency meters, and surface thermometers.
One of the most important parts of the home energy audit is the blower door test. This helps determine how airtight your home is. The auditor mounts a fan into the frame of an exterior door, which pulls air out of the house. This causes outside air to flow in from any place where there's an unsealed opening or crack, helping to identify areas of air leakage.
Once your energy audit is complete, you will receive a report listing the results and areas you should address to improve your home's energy efficiency. The report typically recommends where you should seal any gaps, where you need additional insulation in your attic, and where ductwork needs to be sealed. They might also recommend that you consider new replacement windows and replacement entry doors if they're old and drafty.
Having an energy audit conducted on your home is the first step in figuring out how efficient your home is. After reviewing your results, making the changes recommended by your auditor can get you well on your way to eliminating leaks and saving big bucks on your heating and cooling bills.