Conducting A Home Energy Audit

home energy audit
By Jenny Griffin

A home energy audit can reduce bills, create a healthier environment, and reduce your carbon footprint.

The goal is to reduce unnecessary energy use and improve comfort in the home.

This page looks at what an audit can acheive, information about DIY and professional energy audits.

Below you'll also find a home energy audit checklist.

DIY Energy Audit

You can do a DIY energy audit to assess your situation. If problems are mild, you can take steps towards DIY solutions.

Make a list of things you need to check and take note pad and pen in hand as you conduct the audit. Take notes of all the things you can fix yourself, and the things for which you’ll need to call for professional help.

Home Energy Audit Checklist

What kind of problems should you be looking for? Start with the most obvious and glaring faults that might be wasting electricity.

1. Air Leaks

Air leaks will cost you when it comes to both heating and cooling. Check windows, doors, electrical outlets, attic hatches, air conditioners, and baseboards, for leaks.

If you can see sunlight around a window, there is a leak. Caulk in whatever gaps you can.

2. Insulation

If your home is inadequately insulated, you could lose a lot of heat through the walls and ceiling, which results in excessive energy required for artificial heating in winter.

Similarly, your home may get very hot in summer, requiring mechanical cooling measures, which consume high levels of electricity.

Check the attic, and if possible also the exterior walls to determine if your home is sufficiently insulated. While inspecting the attic, also check for air leaks that may need to be caulked or weather stripped.

3. Lighting

Check the wattage of the bulbs at use in your home.

If they are of high wattage (such as 100 watts), they can be replaced with lower wattage bulbs.

Softer light will suffice in areas where you relax, while you may need stronger light for study areas.

Fluorescent bulbs help save energy in places where you spend most of your time and lights are kept on for hours at a time.

4. Heating and Cooling

Check and clean the filters of your forced-air furnace every month. A professional cleaner should be called annually.

If your equipment is older than fifteen years, a newer model is likely to provide greater efficiency, and decrease energy consumption.

A short term investment could lead to long term returns as newer models are far more energy efficient than older versions. Also check the ducts of heating and cooling units for leaks.

5. Windows

Windows can make a huge difference in the energy efficiency of your home. They reduce heating and cooling costs, add value, and create a healthier environment.

Double glazing is the most common modern option.

Click here to learn more about energy efficient windows.

Get a Professional Energy Assessment

If you want a more thorough assessment, complete with recommendations, you could call a professional home energy auditor.

Professional energy auditors utilize the help of specialized technical equipment, such as blower doors and infrared cameras, to conduct the audit in order to get more specific results.

This will give you the most accurate assessment of where the problem areas lie, and what you can do to improve the overall energy efficiency of your home.

Why Do A Home Energy Audit?

Your home may have been built with flaws, or it may have developed flaws over time, which can cause energy consumption to be higher than it need be.

By identifying problem areas you will gain insight as to what you need to do to improve, so that less energy is used in the home. Less energy use means greater efficiency, which means you get to live just as comfortably, while paying less money on your monthly electricity bill.

This not only reduces the drain on your wallet, but also goes a long way to reducing the drain on non-renewable energy resources, and the consequent carbon emissions that these are responsible for.

First published March 19, 2012
Last updated February 4, 2021

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2 comments on “Conducting A Home Energy Audit”

  1. It's actually a cool and useful piece of info. I'm glad that you just shared this helpful info with
    us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Green Roofs or Solar Roofs ?Do you want to contribute to our earth but don't know how? Global wamring and the urban heat island effect are making inroads into our homes. This is a serious issue, and we must also have a positive attitude toward mediating this situation.Suppose that you are not a boss of an enterprise; therefore, you are powerless to decide how to reduce air pollution nor recycle resources. Don’t be discouraged! You can still influence others and help preserve the earth by supporting the idea of green design. Green design is an internationalidea that has been discussed for many years, and was promoted in the 1992 Leaders Summit Meeting in Brazil. It is called ecological building in Japan and sustainable building in Europe. Home green design is an affordable way to save energy. Two methods of saving energy are the green roof and a roof covered by solar panels. Though each of these two methods have their own advantages and drawbacks regarding expense, working conditions, and function, green roofs are a more effective way to save energy.Expense is a very important thing taken into consideration when deciding between green roofs and solar panels. For a 100 sq foot roof, you need about $25,000 to install solar panels on your rooftop. The system works at least 25 years. However, maintenance of the solar panels will cost $1,000 per year, putting its worthiness into question. Its worthiness depends on your personal electricity usage. You would save a small amount of money if you are living with a big family, but a fact that should be taken into consideration is that the value of money between now and the future fluctuates. Otherwise, you still need to pay the upkeep of the system every year and the charge of basic power to keep it working. Green roofs are priced $1,500 for the same area without the need for maintenance. Then, all you need is a waterproof rooftop, a layer of soil, and a bag of seeds. The idea of Green Roof is much cheaper obviously and has lower maintenance costs than solar panels.An additional factor to consider are the working conditions of each method. Before you choose one of them, you need to consider the weather in your area. Solar panels, as the name hints, is a system that needs sunlight to function. Green roofs need adequate rain to support growth as well as sunlight. Comparing the two systems' working requirements, solar panels need less than green roofs. Though solar panels still work on cloudy days, they will not maintain the same efficiency as they would on sunny days, though the amount of energy provided may be enough depending on your needs. Unfortunately, solar panels are not ideal for windy areas because they might be damaged by flying debris. Though the solar panels and green roofs are nearly equal in regards to working conditions, green roofs are slightly advantageous in that they are working 24 hours a day.Lastly, solar panels and green roofs have slightly differing functions. In theory, solar panels basically reduce your energy consumption. What would be powered with solar electricity are the things such as the refrigerator, the computers, the TVs and the airconditioning, etc. Sounds great, but solar panels efficiency averages only 20% to 40%. Solar panels absorb sunlight and convert its energy to a type of power we can use for electronics. The system loses much energy during theconversion process, and will not be able to power appliances unless sufficient amounts of sunlight is absorbed. On the other hand, green roofs filter rain and air pollutants in addition to keeping the house warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Sometimes it caneven provide a habitat for birds and some small animals.Choosing between solar panels and green roofs is a fascinating question. Though each system has its own benefits, green roofs are more advantageous to the average person. Solar panels are presently an underdeveloped technology especially concerning energy conversion and are more costly than green roofs. Protecting the environment is an important thing and we must work to solve the problems threatening it.I was going to add a few notes here and there, but the answer was too long. Try to make an original title, and not say I am going to because it's obvious. Also, if I changed the meanings of some parts (some parts were ambiguous), feel free to ignore the change.Hope I helped.

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