Find where your home is losing the most energy (and money!) with a DIY Home Energy Audit this weekend. Follow these tips below from energy.gov to rank the areas in your home that need the most improvement.


1. Locate Air Leaks

Make a list of all drafty areas of your home, commonly found near exterior doors. The energy savings from reducing air leaks can have a significant impact on your utility bills, not to mention the coziness of your home.

Besides the under-the-door draft, be sure to check these less obvious areas:

  • Electrical outlets

  • Switch plates

  • Door and window frames

  • Electrical and gas service entrances

  • Baseboards

  • Weather stripping around doors

  • Fireplace dampers

  • Attic hatches

  • Wall- or window-mounted air conditioners

  • Cable and phone lines

  • Vents and fans

Contact your real estate agent or home repair specialist to learn the best way to seal air leaks.


2. Check Insulation

Make sure the money you’re spending on heating and cooling isn’t going down the drain and through the walls by checking your insulation. Remember SAFETY FIRST when working near fiberglass or cellulose insulation. You must protect your lungs and your skin by wearing safety goggles, a breathing mask, and clothing/gloves to cover exposed skin.

First check the attic hatch to make sure it’s weather stripped and closes tightly. In the attic, check to see if openings for pipes, ductwork, and chimneys are sealed. While you’re up there, see if you’ve got a vapor barrier under the attic insulation. This could be tar paper, a plastic sheet, or Kraft paper attached to fiberglass batts. Moisture can make insulation less effective and could cause more serious structural damage.

Talk to your real estate agent to see if they have any recommendations for sealing gaps in the attic and if they recommend using a vapor barrier paint on your interior ceilings to help reduce moisture levels. This would be a great time to discuss if you should add more insulation to your attic, what type you should use and how much you should add.


3. Inspect Heating & Cooling Equipment

Check your owner’s manual or the internet for the recommended inspection schedule on your heating and cooling systems. Check furnace filters and set a reminder to change them every month or two, especially during times of high usage and after large construction projects.

Schedule time with your real estate agent to discuss updating your systems with energy-efficient units.


4. Limit Your Lighting

According to energy.gov, lighting is responsible for up to 10% of the electric bill. A number this significant is reason enough to swap those inefficient bulbs with energy-saving CFL or LED lights. For some bonus savings, look for light bulbs that offer rebates for going green!

Give your electric bill a break and give your home some serious ambiance by using dimmers to reduce lighting use. Other controls like sensors and timers will make sure that you’re not wasting energy lighting empty rooms.


5. Unplug Unused Appliances & Electronics

You’re paying for appliances and electronics to be plugged in, even when they’re not powered on or in use. To make the biggest impact in utility savings, unplug items that are not in use, change settings to “power saving” or “energy efficient” mode if available and be mindful of energy efficiency when purchasing new equipment.


Your Energy Diagnosis

To determine the ways your home is most wasteful and to come up with the best plan to save your money (and the planet!) ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much do I spend on energy?

  • Where are my greatest energy losses?

  • How long will it take for an investment in energy efficiency to pay for itself in cost savings?

  • Do the energy-saving measures provide additional benefits that are important to you—for example, increased comfort from installing double-paned, efficient windows?

  • How long do you plan to own your current home?

  • Can you do the job yourself or do you need a contractor?

  • What is your budget?

  • How much time do you have for maintenance and repairs?


Source: energy.gov

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