Learn about home energy audits in this Energy 101 video.
It took longer than expected, but the harsh winter is finally over and summer is right around the corner. If you're anything like me, that means you're going to be turning on the air conditioner soon—but is your house really ready? With residential energy costs at an all-time high, it's important to make sure that your house is as efficient as it can possibly be—and I'm not just talking about your HVAC system! Luckily, we have some basic tips for success.
To evaluate your home's energy efficiency, you can either perform your own home energy audit or hire a professional to do it for you. First, let's cover some basics for the do-it-yourself home energy audit!
Locate and Seal Air Leaks
The quickest way to waste money in your home is to let all the air escape, but a simple check around your windows, doors, and floors will do the trick. Whether you're a DIY aficionado or a home improvement klutz, you can use a smoke pencil from any home improvement store to identify leaks in the house and then use a caulking gun or weatherstripping tool to fix the problem.
Check Your Insulation
Depending on the age of your house and the last time you had insulation installed, you might not have the recommended amount or the optimal type of insulation for today's climate. Also, make sure the access your attic is properly sealed and insulated with a comparable amount of insulation as the attic itself.
Checking a wall's insulation level is more difficult. Select an exterior wall and turn off the circuit breaker or unscrew the fuse for any outlets in the wall. Once you are sure your outlets are not getting any electricity, remove the cover plate from one of the outlets and gently probe into the wall with a thin, long stick or screwdriver. If you encounter a slight resistance, you have some insulation there.
In terms of your overall energy bill, anything related to climate control in the house definitely makes up the majority, but lighting also accounts for about 10% of your bill, as well. Take a few minutes to check out your light bulbs to see if there's a more efficient option. If you're looking to save some money over time, phase out those old incandescent light bulbs and switch to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or LED bulbs.
Hire a Professional Home Energy Auditor
If you're really looking to boost the energy efficiency of your home, we really recommend that you look into hiring a professional. A home energy audit performed by a trained weatherization professional will ensure that you have all the facts you need to tackle your home's energy problems. Wondering who to go to for such an evaluation? Make sure to talk to companies that employ workers with the national Home Energy Professional Certifications.
If you follow all of these tips, you'll be ready for a cool summer in your energy efficient home in no time—s but be sure not to miss out on the beautiful weather!