Have you noticed your energy bill seems higher than it should be? Whether in the heat of summer or the chill of winter, there’s a simple way to identify what might be the culprit. From drafty windows and doors, to worn siding, insufficient insulation, and old appliances— it’s important to take action and determine what’s boosting your energy bill.
It’s called a home energy audit, and with a few simple steps, it can help you make home improvements that will have a positive effect on your energy bill.
Be sure to keep a checklist of areas you have inspected, as well as any potential problems you’ve identified. With this list, you’ll be able to prioritize your energy efficiency improvements. Here’s what to look for when performing an initial DIY home energy audit:
First, check for any air leaks, or drafts in your home. Start with the areas most susceptible to leaks, typically located around old windows and doors. Also inspect your home for gaps along the baseboards, walls and ceilings, lighting and plumbing fixtures, and electrical outlets. Once you’ve identified any obvious drafts, take steps to plug or caulk these points. If you notice that your old windows allow drafts into your home, it may be time to purchase energy efficient replacement windows. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you may save anywhere from 5% to 30% a year just by reducing air leaks in your home.
Many houses, especially older ones, do not have insulation levels that meet the recommended minimum standards. Houses with inadequate insulation allow large amounts of heat to pass through the ceilings and walls, causing your energy bill to soar. Start with a visual inspection of your attic. Determine whether your attic hatch is properly insulated and weather-stripped. Are the pipes, ductwork and chimneys all properly sealed?
Check your home’s exterior, too, since siding also works to insulate your home. If your siding is severely weathered, warped or damaged, it’s probably time for an upgrade. At Champion, we’re happy to provide a free, in-home consultation and estimate on new vinyl siding for your home. You can learn more about home insulation by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy’s website.
LIGHTING, EQUIPMENT & APPLIANCES
Lighting can account for up 10% of your electric bill, and replacing the light bulbs in your home with energy efficient bulbs can make a significant difference over an extended period of time. Monitor your lighting usage and whenever possible, use sensors, dimmers or timers.
Your appliances and electronic equipment can also affect your energy bill; older appliances use more energy than newer appliances. In addition to upgrading your appliances to newer, more energy-efficient models, you can also save on energy by unplugging appliances when you’re not using them, changing their settings, or simply using them less often.
For the best results from your home energy audit, you’ll want to contact a professional technician—often called an energy auditor—to assess your home. A thorough examination by a professional with the right tools (such as infrared cameras for thermographic scans) and a depth of experience can make a big difference. In many areas, utility companies will perform these energy audits for free. Contact your local utility company, or visit the Residential Energy Services Network to find a reputable energy assessment professional near you.
Energy inefficiency can cost you a lot – now, and in the long run. If your home is wasting energy due to poorly insulated windows or doors, or because of inferior siding or roofing, it’s time to save yourself some money. Give your local Champion location a call for a free, in-home estimate.