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Reduce Home Energy Costs with an Energy Audit

home-energy-audit2Do you remember your high utility bills last winter?  Unfortunately energy costs will continue to rise.  So, if last year’s bills were higher than you thought they should be, you may want to consider an energy audit for your home.

An energy audit looks at areas of your home that might be losing energy.  While you can do the energy audit yourself, it’s always best to bring in a professional.  Even if you own a newer home, an energy audit can show areas that can show you areas to save energy.

The biggest area of lost energy is air leaks, or drafts.  Reducing drafts in a home can produce anywhere from 5% to 30% in savings per year.  Air leaks can be found around windows, along baseboards or the edge of flooring at the junctures of walls and ceiling.  Finding these air leaks and sealing them will make your home more comfortable and result in lower utility bills.

If you want to try to conduct your own energy audit, you’ll want to start with getting to know your energy bills.  Your past bills can provide valuable information when you compare heating and cooling costs by month and look for trends in usages and any changes that may have occurred.  Compare your kilowatt hours with the amount you are being charged by KWH.

Next, you’ll want to check your home for air leaks.  Look closely at areas such as corners, baseboards, around windows and doors, around chimneys or where pipes and wires exit along your foundation.  Also look for mortar cracks or obvious holes and gaps.  These areas will need caulked or plugged to prevent air leaks.

Make sure vital areas of your home are insulated and that any existing insulation isn’t crumped or compacted.  Places like attic floors and outside walls should be well insulated.  Hot water pipes and furnace ducts should also be insulated.

Your heating and cooling units usually account for the biggest home energy load.  Check the filters on your furnace and replace them if they look dirty.  This should be checked every month or so during the heating season.  If you have central air conditioning running during the warmer months, check the inside and outside coils.  If they appear dirty, carefully vacuum them.

These are just a few areas of your home that can be examined to ensure you are not losing energy.  To have a professional energy audit completed on your home, check with your utility company.  They may provide someone to come and inspect your home free of charge.