Get a Home Energy Audit
With home heating prices soaring and many finding themselves in tight financial situations, more people are looking toward winter with and anxiety. But instead of sitting idly by while your electric bill climbs higher, why not take action by having a home energy audit?
Heating and cooling our homes represents a large portion of our energy usage. Makes sense, right? But what you may not realize is that by reducing the amount of air leaks (or drafts) in your home you can have a potential energy savings of 5 to 30% per year, according to EnergySavers.gov, so getting an energy audit will really prove beneficial. A professional home energy audit typically costs $100 to $300, but if you take their recommendations, you can quickly make that money back!
Having a trained eye look at your home is invaluable. I’ve asked certified Green Professional Scott Bucheister of Tidewater Insulators how a home energy audit typically goes.
“The blower door is a tool that auditors use to test your home’s envelope,” he said. “They install a powerful fan that fits exactly into an open outer door. The air is sucked out of your house causing negative air pressure. The auditor walks around with a hand held smoke machine and points out the major gaps and leaks, usually around doors and window frames. If added together, all these gaps and leaks can equal a window being open in your home 24 hours a day.”
Here are a few ways Mr. Bucheister said a home energy audit can save you money and reduce your energy use:
Start at the top.
Most auditors will encourage you to start in your attic by sealing all penetrations to the attic from above. Electrical wiring, plumbing pipes, and bath fans all allow air to escape into the attic. You can hire a professional to find and take care of the leaks or for do it yourself with a can of expandable foam. Mr. Bucheister also recommends that the insulation in your attic be increased to proper levels to help retain the heating and cooling.
Then go down.
The next priority is your crawlspace or basement. Sealing the penetrations in the crawlspace keeps air, moisture and odors out of your home. Insulating the floors will keep your feet warmer and help make you more comfortable, hopefully meaning that you’re not adjusting the thermostat which will help drive down costs.
To find a qualified energy auditor near you, go to www.energystar.gov and click the “partners” tab. You can look up a home energy rater by state.
If you can’t find an auditor, check the do-it-yourself home energy assessment on Homes.com blog.