The summer heat and humidity have definitely shown up here in Raleigh, and with it, you’ve probably noticed a jump in your electricity bill as well. As with many homeowners, you may be looking for ways to both beat the heat and lower your electricity bill at the same time. If that’s the case, you might want to consider performing an energy audit on your home.
What’s a Home Energy Audit?
A home energy audit or a home energy assessment is when you or a professional inspect your home to find out how much energy is being consumed and to evaluate what can be done to your home to make it more energy efficient. This audit can find out where your home is being heated or cooled improperly, and help you take steps towards being both energy efficient and saving money.
Conducting a Home Energy Audit Yourself
Up until now, you’ve probably done what you can to ensure that your home is energy efficient, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t holes in the system. A professional home energy audit will do the best job of finding out what parts of your home aren’t efficient, but there are large areas that you can address yourself.
First, check all doors and windows – these are the easiest and most obvious culprits for energy loss and can account for nearly 20% of the energy used in your home. You can also check anywhere that two different materials touch each other or join together. Air leaks can occur around HVAC equipment, so ensure that you check that as well as plumbing, lighting, and outlets.
Once you’ve identified the air leaks, you can correct them by using caulk, patching, or reinstalling the area with suitable materials to stop a draft. As you’re sealing drafts, remember that ventilation is important and that the air can become polluted in a room if fuel is burned there or that a backdraft is more likely in the event of a fire if a room is not properly ventilated. If you’re unsure if your home is properly ventilated, contact your HVAC contractor to inspect your home.
Check Your Insulation
Energy efficiency can be lost in high amounts if your home isn’t insulated properly. The older your home, the more likely that the insulation isn’t up to current standards. If you suspect that your older home may not have enough insulation, there are steps you can take to help keep your home efficient.
If you have an attic, you can check for any places in the ceiling that might not be fully insulated and correct those. Ensure that a vapor barrier exists under the attic insulation to make sure that moisture isn’t ruining your insulation and leading your home towards structural damage. There are ways to check the insulation between your walls, but the safest method to check your wall insulation is to hire a thermographic inspection.
Maintain Your HVAC Equipment
Your heating and cooling units should ideally be maintained and inspected at least once a year. Checking your filters and keeping the units clean, especially when they are in use, is crucial to their usability and to their efficiency.
Most maintenance can be completed by yourself, but to ensure that your equipment is properly maintained, contact a professional to service the unit for you. If your units are older, say 15 to 20 years, upgrading to a newer unit could potentially save you money due to newer, more efficient manufacturing.
Lighting and Appliances
If you’re using older, inefficient, incandescent bulbs, switching to a more efficient bulb can help your electric bill by nearly 10%. Switching to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), LEDs, or energy-saving incandescent bulbs, or even updating your lamps to energy-efficient models or investing in dimmers or timers can dramatically impact how much you spend on electricity each month.
Check your appliances as well – if you’re using older appliances, they could be using electricity even when turned off. Unplugging such appliances when you aren’t using them or investing in more energy-efficient, newer models can also help adjust your energy bill.
Contact Future Connections Electrical today
Are you looking for a professional to conduct your energy audit? Future Connections provides thermal imaging services to help see where there may be energy holes in your home. Contact us today for a professional assessment by calling 919-854-1556 or filling out our contact form.