How to Conduct a DIY Home Energy Audit
A home energy audit, also called a home energy assessment, is the first and one of the most important steps in improving how your home uses energy. Through this type of audit or assessment, you can learn how much energy your home uses and find out what steps can be taken to improve its efficiency.
Once an energy audit is completed, you can implement strategies to improve the efficiency of your home, which can greatly reduce your energy consumption, cut your utility bills, reduce your carbon footprint, and improve the comfort of your home.
There are two ways in which a home energy audit can be performed:
- Hire a professional
If hiring a professional does not fit into your budget, you want to save some money, or if you are simply a handyman, going the DIY route may be the best option for you.
Steps to Conducting a DIY Home Energy Audit
At first, conducting a home energy audit on your own may sound like a difficult task; however, rest assured that it is not as challenging as you may think. Here is a list of steps that will help you accurately determine the efficiency of your home:
- Search for air leaks, or drafts in the perimeter of your home. Start by checking the obvious locations, including gaps in the flooring, the ceiling, the walls, the door frames and the windows. You’ll also want to check any part of your home where two different types of building materials meet, as these are often prime spots for leaks. Don’t forget to check the not-so-obvious spots, too, such as switch plates, fireplaces, electrical outlets, around AC units, attics and crawl spaces.
- Pay close attention to the windows and door frames. Try placing your hands on them and moving them. If they shake or rattle, this an indication of a possible leak.
- Check the insulation. Assess the condition of and the amount of insulation in your home. Attics and unfinished basements are prime areas. If the insulation is outdated, does not meet suggested height/depth levels or is missing, it needs to be replaced or added to.
- Check the attic vents. In order for the vents to work properly, they should not be blocked.
- Assess your HVAC system. What type of condition are the filters in? How old are the units? Filters should be changed every two months to ensure the best performance and a system that is more than 20 years old may need to be replaced.
Once you conduct a DIY energy audit, it is crucial to make any necessary changes to improve the efficiency of your home. This might include installing a whole house fan for example, to help your home cool more efficiently.