With a tight economy, many homeowners are looking for ways to save money on their monthly bills. One excellent choice is through a home energy audit. This is an energy assessment of your home that you can do yourself in a single weekend. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a typical audit can identify from 5 to 30 percent in potential energy savings. The additional benefit of performing this type of audit is that you will become more knowledgeable about the hidden condition of your home. This can save you even more money if you locate problems you were unaware of in addition to energy loss.
The best way to begin an energy audit is by creating a detailed check list. Print out a copy of your list for each room so that you can easily identify the exact problem areas during your repairs. Your list should include:
- Exterior doors (weatherstripping, gaps, caulking, poor fit)
- Windows (loose, gaps, broken panes, missing storm windows, missing caulk, poor fit)
- Baseboards (missing caulk, gaps)
- Electrical plates (lack of insulation around electrical boxes, allowing air to flow inside the walls)
- Holes through walls, ceilings and floors
- Fireplace dampers that are open, don’t work or are broken or ill-fitted
- Registers with poorly attached ductwork
- Doggy doors, mail slots and through wall openings
- Vents that penetrate the wall and have missing insulation, such as dryer and bathroom vents
- Attic hatch or unfinished basement door with missing insulation
- Recessed lights improperly installed or lighting with incorrect bulbs
- Outdated energy-wasting appliances such as water heaters, furnaces, HVAC system, fireplace inserts, stoves and refrigerators
- Exterior siding corners with missing caulk or gaps
- Areas where siding joins other materials
- Attic with squashed or inadequate insulation
- Basement and exterior walls with no insulation or vapor barrier
In order to carry on a thorough and accurate home energy audit, it’s important to pressurize your house to easily check for leaks. Close all windows, doors and fireplace flues, and turn off all gas appliances such as furnaces, water heaters and stoves. Use your bathroom and kitchen fans to suck out the air. Use a lit incense stick and as you walk through each room, watch for wavers in smoke. When the smoke bends, there’s likely a leak nearby.
Feel more comfortable hiring a professional to conduct a home energy audit? Contact Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal to schedule an appointment, or ask any HVAC-related questions you may have. We’ve been serving Northwest Arkansas for more than 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about energy audits and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.