We've all heard of financial audits and some of us have probably had the “pleasure” of a tax audit by the IRS, but have you ever heard of a home energy audit? Well a home energy audit is a relatively recent development and the audit (or check up) is designed to identify how energy is used in your home,then come up with ways to improve your home's energy utilization and conserve energy. So, home energy audits are good things since it help minimize your home energy footprint, on a more personal level, it can help save you real money on your energy costs.
The concept of a home energy audit is fairly straightforward—check for areas energy is being wasted or at least not being efficiently used in your home and figure out how to fix them. You can do your own home energy audit simply by going around your home and being observant, since in a typical home energy is often lost in areas such as drafts around windows and doors, insufficient roof insulation, HVAC system issues, lighting problems, or inefficient appliances and vampire power usage
How To Do Your own Energy Audit
Look for drafts around your doors and windows using a lighted candle, a cigaret or even a tissue on the end of pencil, Move it slowly around the edge of your doors and windows and any drafts coming through will move the smoke or cause the tissue to blow. If you see air movement, you've found one of your home's energy weak spots. New weather stripping on doors and windows as well as replacing old caulking should eliminate the drafts.
Check your existing attic insulation. Most homes will have 3 to 4 inches of insulation in the attic (R 12 – R 15) and while that was considered adequate a few years ago, it's now far too little. Depending on where you live in the country the US Department of Energy now recommends homes have at least R40 to R60 insulation in their attic. Adding inexpensive cellulose of fiberglass insulation will provide major energy savings.
Look at your heating ducts for any signs they may not be tightly sealed (black marks). Any openings will allow treated air to escape, wasting the energy that was used to heat or cool it. Also, ensure your furnace and air conditioners are properly maintained.
Most of their energy incandescent light bulbs consume goes to produce heat rather than light, replacing them with Energy Star approved compact fluorescent bulbs will provide immediate energy savings.
Older appliances are energy hogs compared to new energy efficient Energy Star appliances. Refrigerators and ranges can often be replaced with new , more efficient appliances that not only save energy they provide an economic payback in just a few years.
In the evening just before going to bed, take a walk around your home and look at all the little green, blue and red lights you see. Each of those lights is an appliance consuming power you may not even be using. Cable and Satellite TV boxes, cell phone chargers left plugged in, coffee makers on timers even televisions left plugged in for 'instant on' are all consuming energy. Some experts estimate this 'vampire' energy consumption represents up to 15% of a home's total energy use and it can be eliminated (or dramatically cut back) simply by turning appliances off totally and unplugging unused equipment.