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Nov 6, 2018

Is Your Home as Energy Efficient as it Could Be?

If you've never considered an energy audit for your home, you might be surprised to find that it's well worth your time and effort. After all, drafts and air leaks cost the average American homeowner hundreds of dollars every year.  Finding out how your home uses energy is one way to find out if you need upgrades to your heating and cooling system or elsewhere in your home. Check out these three tips for learning more about your home's energy efficiency. 

Check for Faulty Insulation

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Image via Flickr by ryochiji

Insulation can deteriorate over time, leaving gaps that cause air loss. If the insulation in your attic is below the level of the floor joists, add insulation to compensate. Check the insulation's depth with a measuring tape to find out if it meets the manufacturer's recommended levels. 

Check wall insulation by turning off the electrical breaker in each section of your house. Remove the electrical outlet cover to probe the interior wall using a screw driver. If you don't feel resistance, consider installing more insulation.

Seek Out Air Leaks

Air leaks pull air out of your home, causing your HVAC system to work harder in the summer and winter. The incense test is one of the easiest ways to locate problem areas that can drain your wallet. To do this test, close all doors and windows. Turn off appliances, water heaters, and exhaust fans to reduce the airflow in the home. This will help to identify the pesky leaks that you want to plug.

Burn the incense in areas that you suspect are drafty, including near fireplace dampers, outlets, baseboards, foundation seals, and windows. The incense will waver or disappear into leaky areas. Seal these areas to ensure that your home's warm or cool air stays inside.
Photo by Daniel von Appen on Unsplash
Leaks often occur through windows and doors, so you'll want to make sure that your windows are airtight. Installing energy-efficient windows can save you a lot of money in heating and cooling costs. If the incense test reveals air leaks around the doors, adjusting the door on the hinges will ensure a tighter seal.

Inspect and Maintain Appliances

Your home's appliances and systems can also cause serious efficiency issues. Analyze your home's energy usage with an energy calculator. Many online calculators help homeowners perform DIY audits for refrigerators, lighting systems, dishwashers, and other appliances. Schedule maintenance for appliances that are wasting energy or take advantage of tax credits by installing energy-efficient machines.

Regularly inspect your outdoor HVAC unit to make sure that it is free of plants, weeds, and other debris. Call your local heating and air conditioning technician for annual tuneups and efficiency checks.

If your current HVAC system isn't efficient enough, consider an upgrade. A ductless system can help you save energy while still keeping your family comfortable, no matter the season.

These easy steps for improving your home's energy efficiency can make a world of difference when it's time to pay the bills. Small changes and a little effort can decrease your household energy consumption and save you money.
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