Monday, April 02, 2012
Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audit to Cash in on Savings
Let’s face it. We all want to make sure we are maximizing our energy savings and decreasing our utility bills.
According to EnergySavers.gov, each family spends over $2,000 every year on utilities, but as surprising as it might be, much of the energy coming into our homes is wasted! A simple home energy audit will help you understand what areas of your home use the most energy so you can start reducing your utility bills AND your impact on the environment.
Here are some tips to help you perform an audit:
1. Test your home for air tightness: Hold a lit incense stick to all windows, doors, plumbing fixtures and other exits to the outside and see where the smoke goes. You should caulk, seal, insulate and weather strip all seams, cracks, and openings that are made apparent with the incense.
2. Properly maintain your heating and cooling systems: Heating and cooling your home accounts for over 50 percent of most people's utility bills. Replacing filters, installing a programmable thermostat and making sure registers are not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes can make a big difference when it comes to your monthly bill.
3. Save on hot water: Your water heater is a huge energy hog. You can drastically reduce your energy bills by reducing the amount of hot water you use, turning down the thermostat on your water heater or buying a new, more energy efficient model.
4. Don't let energy escape through the window: Double paned windows will keep the heat or air conditioning inside the home where you want it. Consider upgrading if you can. This might be a significant up-front cost that pays out in the end. Install blinds on windows or exterior awnings to help maximize your energy savings.
5. Change your light bulbs: Energy for lighting accounts for about 10 percent of your electric bill. Make sure you are using the proper wattage bulb for each room and consider switching to energy efficient lighting to cut costs.
For detailed analysis and recommendations based on your own region and climate, check out the U.S. Department of Energy's Home Energy Saver website. It will walk you through a step-by-step investigation of your energy usage to help you save money and reduce your environmental footprint!
Have you made any changes in your home to help reduce your utility bills? Are they helping?