One of the most effective ways to save energy is to conduct a home energy audit. An audit can help reveal where you may be losing the most energy and the parts of your home where you should make updates to increase efficiency. If you have never conducted your own in-home energy audit, there are a few things you should know before you begin.
- Start with a visual inspection. During a visual inspection, you should gather information such as what materials were used during the construction of your home and how the major components of your home (floor, walls and roof) were fabricated.
- Check the outside of your home. The outside of your home is just as important as the inside when it comes to energy efficiency. Once you’ve conducted a thorough indoor visual inspection, move outdoors and check for construction details and whether there have been add-ons to the house, for example, if your walls are straight, the number of windows and whether you have any vertical shafts such as a chimney.
- Identify air leaks. Reducing drafts in your home could result in energy savings of 5 to 30 percent per year. Check along your baseboard as well as at the junctures of the walls and ceilings for any air leaks. Also inspect the outside of your home, especially if your home has additions.
- Inspect your insulation. If your insulation levels are not up to par, heat could be escaping through your walls and ceiling. Older homes were typically built with insulation that is no longer seen as efficient, so knowing when your insulation was installed is important.
It is a good idea to jot down all information you find during your home energy audit. Once you’ve conducted your audit, the next step is up to you. If you feel your home needs additional inspection, hiring a professional energy auditor may be a wise investment. For most people, however, the next step is usually sealing any air leaks found and updating insulation throughout the home.