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How to Conduct a DIY Home Energy Evaluation

If you're ready to lower your energy bills and enjoy a more environmentally friendly home, a DIY home energy evaluation is a great place to start. Performing a home energy audit involves thoroughly inspecting your home from its foundation to the rooftop, inside and out, to identify places where energy is wasted. After conducting your evaluation, you'll be able to begin making smart, energy efficient changes to your residence.

Find Air Leaks

Make a list of drafty areas around your home. Doors and windows are the most obvious targets, but also check outlets, vents, and fireplaces. Inspect the outside of your home where two different building materials meet, such as the interface between your vinyl siding and the wooden roof. Seal the leaks using the appropriate type of caulk. Eliminating air leaks reduces energy consumption by 5 to 30 percent.

Check Insulation Levels

To check the insulation levels of your home, open your attic hatch. Inspect the insulation to see whether it meets the recommended R-value for your geographic area. If you can climb into the attic, bring a flashlight and check around all vent openings for air leaks. Seal any gaps with an expanding foam insulation. Use a non-combustible insulation around chimney or furnace vents.

Evaluate the HVAC

Heating and air conditioning systems consume the greatest portion of energy out of all the appliances and systems of your home. An expert from Shorty's Plumbing & Heating Inc recommends checking the label or owner's manual to see what the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of your air conditioner or heat pump is. Consider replacing an older air conditioner or heat pump with an SEER greater than 14. Check the AFUE of your furnace. Replacing an inefficient furnace with one that is 95 percent or more efficient could result in a 30 to 50 percent savings on your home heating and cooling costs.

Review Appliances and Lighting

Take a look at your light fixtures. If you're still using incandescent light bulbs, remove them and replace them with CFL or LED bulbs. Inspect your heat generating appliances such as the clothes dryer, water heater, and dishwasher. If these appliances are more than ten years old, replace them with a new unit. Choose a replacement that is Energy Star-rated for optimal efficiency.

Conducting a home energy audit only takes an hour or two of your time. In the end, the list you have created will provide you with actions to take to lower the amount of energy used by your home and reduce your monthly utility bills, making your home more comfortable and saving you some green.

Photo Credit: Mark Evans

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Emma Sturgis

Emma Sturgis

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