Before you undertake steps to improve your home – or just about anything – you need to evaluate what is occurring. Hence, before you start improving the energy-related items on your home, you need to see where you stand. Follow along for more information in this regard, which will help you find the next steps.
Taking a home energy audit will allow you to see how your home is doing in the conversation of energy. You can do this yourself, though you should consider the next section as well.
Check the insulation levels in exterior/basement walls, attic, ceilings, floors, and crawl spaces. You’ll also want to look for holes and cracks around windows, doors, ceilings, walls, light and plumbing fixtures, switches, and electric outlets where air can escape in either direction – inside or outside of your home.
Make sure your appliances and heating/cooling systems are maintained properly; look at their respective manuals for maintenance items. Check for open fireplace dampers.
Finally, approach how your family uses lighting. Perhaps you can integrate timers, dimmers, and occupancy sensors where you commonly use lights. You’ll also want to replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact or standard fluorescent lamps.
The Professional Audit
It may be best to consult with a professional for data on your home energy situation. You should be able to find one for at least a small charge – and even some that may do it for free.
The tools are just a bit more complex than what we saw in the last section (yes, sarcasm). The auditor will use blower doors, infared cameras, and surface thermometers to look for leaks and drafts. He or she will also analyse your home’s energy systems and how well they work together – and then compare that to an alysis of your utility bills.
If your contractor is good, you’ll be able to receive recommendations on cost-effective energy improvements, along with the costs and the projected return on the investment. This comparison can be useful to look at the immediate and long-term impact of switching to more energy-efficient items.
No matter which road you take, getting a home energy audit can be invaluable for defining your next steps.
Take a look at the results of your findings, and hopefully the findings of the professional. You will be able to look at your current energy costs, location of greatest energy losses, and begin to search for the best investment opportunities for you home and energy. Of course, there will be a wide range of alternative factors, such as how long you plan to keep your home, your budget, the expenses of involving a contractor for certain items – and furthermore.
Overall, you would do well to evaluate your home and where it stands with energy. Perhaps you are losing hundreds or thousands of dollars each year with your current items. You might just find some investment opportunities to see a return on your energy costs and what you do to improve the value of your home – and maybe even your home insurance.