EcoWatch

Home Energy Audit Checklist: DIY vs. professional

If you’re reading this, you just survived one of the hottest summers ever.1 It’s possible that your air conditioner was set to “high” and your energy bills looked the same too. We can thank climate change and higher utility rates for that.

But you may also be responsible for spending $200 to $400 in energy expenditures out the window. According to the US Department of Energy, this is how much the average homeowner loses each year due to an air leak in their home.2 It could be so much more, home energy expert Greg Fasulo of Elevation Solar told EcoWatch.

“Most consumers don’t realize that handling and managing their energy can save you thousands of dollars a year,” Fasulo said.

With the onset of winter, many people are searching hard How to save money on energy bills. But Fasullo says the problem is most likely that you need an energy audit at home.

“The analogy I like to use is that it’s like a car. If your gas tank has a leak, you don’t want to keep putting in more gas or [look for] Low cost gas. First thing, let’s fix the leak. “This is what energy efficiency does in the home,” Fasulo said.

What is a home energy audit?

You hear that an at-home energy audit can save you hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars. But, what is even a home energy audit?

Also referred to as a home energy assessment, a home energy audit helps you understand your home’s energy use, identify problem areas and come up with a solution to improve your home’s overall energy efficiency.

DIY Home Energy Audit 101: What to Check

You will probably see road Bigger savings by having a professional energy audit, which is why Fausullo told EcoWatch he doesn’t advise homeowners to try to do it themselves.

“You can’t do it professionally, and a lot of times you’ll be wasting your time,” Fasulo said.

However, Fasullo agrees that there are definitely things you can do to get a better handle on files Energy consumption at home. Here are the five main things you should check:

  1. light
  2. Windows and doors
  3. air leak
  4. insulation
  5. Hardware
  6. HVAC Systems

You can download our free home energy audit checklist here or read on to learn more about how to tackle a home energy audit yourself.

1. Evaluate your lighting

The first recommendation is Turn off any standard LED light bulbs.

Yes, we know they cost more up front, but compared to incandescent bulbs:

  • LED lights use approximately 75% less energy3
  • LED bulbs last 25 times longer4
  • LED lights can save you about $225 a year5

For outdoor lights, LED lights or compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are better designed to withstand harsh weather conditions while also consuming less energy.

Do you want to turn on your outdoor lights for free? paying off Solar powered lights.

2. Sealing windows and doors

Windows and exterior doors are the most common causes of air leaks. Here’s how to reduce that:

3. Check for air leaks

Contrary to popular belief, air leaks are found in more places than doors and windows.

“There are all kinds of places in the house — where there are ductwork, even things like lights in the ceiling — there are areas where energy naturally leaks,” Fasulo said.

Here are some steps to find and treat air leaks:

  • Check electrical outlets, tubes, lighting, base plates, and other features.
  • Check for cracks or holes and feel for drafts.
  • Seal problem areas with appropriate sealants or weather-resistant materials.

4. Check your insulation

When the builder built your home, it likely met the minimum insulation requirements at the time. If your home is at least 10 years old, this minimum is probably old.

According to the Department of Energy, a properly insulated attic can reduce your energy bill by 10% to 50%.7 Here are some steps to take when assessing insulation in your home:

  • Check attic insulation for signs of deterioration or age.
  • Check to see if there is a file steam Under the insulation (may be plastic sheet, tar paper or kraft paper attached to fiberglass bats).
  • If you don’t see a vapor barrier, you may want to contact the experts.

5. Check your devices

Aside from doing a professional energy assessment, Fasulo said the best thing a homeowner can do to get a better understanding of their energy use is to invest in smart thermostat It helps you keep track of your consumption.

In addition to keeping up with your energy use with a smart thermostat, we recommend that you:

  • Check the age of your home appliances, and upgrade to energy-efficient models when necessary.
  • Unplug appliances that you don’t use often.
  • Check the washer dryer exhaust for any blockages, and clean the vent hose annually.

6. Check your HVAC systems

HVAC systems should be inspected annually. You can read files HVAC Tips Guide For more information on how to keep your systems working properly, but here are some highlights:

  • Ensure that the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are in good condition.
  • If you haven’t already done so, Upgrade your HVAC system To use Energy Star approved models.
  • Search for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) to determine the efficiency of the system. (Most AC units have a minimum SEER rating of 13.)

Why should you hire a professional energy auditor?

Doing a DIY home energy audit is a good place to start, but Fasullo said it just isn’t enough for what most homes need.

“While you can save some money, you won’t see the same results,” he said. “And the payoff is very short with these energy efficient companies.”

Even if you are the most affordable homeowner on the planet, unless you are a professional contractor, you likely don’t have the equipment and skills to make your home as energy efficient as possible.

Here are some of the things a professional energy auditor will do in your home:

  • Blower door test: The checker will close the front door of your house and put a large fan inside. This will pull all the indoor air out, forcing the outside air to pass through any cracks or holes to find all potential air leaks.
  • thermal scanning: The checker can measure hidden energy consumption using infrared technology, surface thermometers, and furnace efficiency meters.
  • Energy Efficiency Adjustment: Your auditor may be able to make improvements right away, such as installing insulation or air sealing in your attic. Or they can schedule a contractor to come in and do any work recommended.

How much does an energy audit cost?

It depends on the company and the services you completed, but on average, you can expect to pay between $200 and $600 for a professional energy audit.

Additional energy efficiency upgrades could make you spend thousands of dollars, but Fasullo said the investment is well worth it for the continuous energy savings you’ll see for the life of your home.

“For a few thousand dollars, you can save $1,000 or more annually. Literally, in a few years, you can get that money back,” Fasulo said. “So, hire a professional. But get some quotes you can rate and make sure you get a good deal.”

How do I get a free home energy assessment?

You read that right! Often, homeowners are eligible for free home energy assessments through their local utility companies.

Check with your local facility to see if you qualify for a free energy assessment. If not completely free, Fasulo said, many utilities offer energy efficiency discounts and subsidies that can significantly reduce the cost of an energy audit in your home.

“Basically, by paying the electricity bill, [public utility commission] He has some money. They’re giving it back to consumers to save, so take advantage of it.” Fasulo said. “That money has to go to someone—it could be you, too!”

many solar panel installation companies They also offer free home energy audits for customers who express an interest in using solar energy, even if you don’t end up buying the panels.

“Most consumers don’t realize that handling and managing their energy can save you thousands of dollars a year,” Fasulo said. “If you’re a homeowner and you actually put solar on the house, now you’re generating electricity. And you can generate, I mean, tens of thousands of dollars a year through this solar system.”

Why energy saving practices are important

The average American spends more than $1,500 on electricity.8 And with rising temperatures and energy rates, energy-saving practices are more important than ever.

Everyone likes to save money where they can, but if you’re feeling nervous about high electric bills, you’re not alone. In fact, a Recent EcoWatch Scan A survey of 1,000 homeowners revealed that 79% of homeowners care about their average monthly energy expenditure.

Make your home more sustainable Not only beneficial to your wallet and relieving financial stress. It is also beneficial for the health of yourself, your family and the planet. Check out some of these stats:

  • Residential energy use currently accounts for approximately 20% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States9
  • Energy efficiency upgrades can reduce carbon dioxide2 It emits more than a billion tons annually and saves more than a trillion dollars in the United States.10
  • Homes with an energy-efficient rating sell 2.7% more than unrated homes, and better-rated homes sell 3% to 5% more than lower-rated homes.11

If you’re not sure where to start with a home energy assessment, try reaching out to your local utility provider or solar energy company Near you. Fasulo leaves us with this advice for homeowners:

“Choose a provider who will actually do an energy audit – not just show up [in] insulation. They’re actually going to push the home test and they’re going to certify the results.”

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