I talk a lot about energy savings for business but as a homeowner I’m also interested in saving energy at home. Now that 2013 is here, it’s time to make some New Year’s resolutions for your home! Following through with those resolutions will not only be helpful for the environment, but will also save you money.
Before you can make your goals, you’ll need to take a closer look at your home. When it comes to home energy efficiency, the problem is often air leaks. Remember, even if you have a new HVAC system, you can still waste a lot of energy if you have poorly insulated doors, ducts, windows and other building components.
Find those Mysterious Air Leaks
The great news is that you don’t have to guess whether your home has air leaks. The best way to find areas of air infiltration in your home is hire a professional energy auditor, or perform a DIY home energy audit. You can find a certified professional to conduct your home energy audit at RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network).
Hire a Professional Energy Auditor
One benefit of hiring a professional energy auditor is the specialized equipment and expertise they bring along. Professional auditors use infrared cameras to create thermograms, images that indicate areas of air infiltration. Auditors may also use blower door tests to zero in on air leaks. Testing for air leaks with specialized equipment may be more accurate during times of greater differences in temperature between the inside and outside. That means that the winter or summer can be ideal times to get a professional home energy audit.
Perform Your Own Energy Audit
If a professional audit isn’t in the budget, you can still do a visual inspection of your home to detect air leaks. Check for gaps and cracks along baseboards, electrical outlets, fireplace dampers, attic hatches and other areas. On the outside, inspect areas where different building materials meet, such as where the foundation and bottom of the siding or brick meet. Explore the government’s Energy Saver website for more ways to detect air leaks, including how to conduct a pressurization test.
Get Motivated and Start Planning
Whether you go with a DIY home energy audit or hire a professional, you’ll up end with a much clearer picture of what you need to do to make your home more energy efficient. And you’ll also have motivation: Reducing drafts in your home can translate into an energy savings of up to 30 percent a year! (Source: Energy.gov)
Of course, it isn’t all about air leaks. You may find out that you need to update appliances, fixtures or your HVAC system. Finding out now rather than later will give you an opportunity to budget for needed updates, and make a plan for implementing changes this year.
Do you know if your home has air leaks? Will you make any New Year’s resolutions for your home?
Start Your Year with a Home Energy Audit by Brent Hardy