Doing an energy audit
If you think about where your home is losing energy -- where would that be? Having a home energy checkup will find the trouble spots, and tell you how to correct them.
Chandler vonSchrader is a residential manager with the U.S. EPA’s Energy Star program. He says most people think they need to focus on sealing up the doors and windows. But that’s usually not where the biggest losses come from.
An energy auditor will pay close attention to the attic, where most homes lose precious heat.
"There are so many bypasses and holes for heated air in the wintertime to move up and out of the house, that that really increases energy use obviously, and decreases comfort," he says. "So, we encourage folks to ‘seal the lid’ with foam and caulk, and then add insulation."
The ductwork in your home can be another area where an energy auditor will find enormous leaks. He or she will check the duct system and make sure it’s all connected and in place. If there’s ductwork in an attic or crawl space, it’ll need to be insulated. You may need to call a heating and cooling professional to make those kinds of corrections.
This might sound like a lot of work, but vonSchrader says an energy auditor will also find the little things that can make a difference in your energy bill.
"Change out the light bulbs, maybe even turn down the temperature down on water heaters, have a discussion on using the thermostat wisely, encourage people maybe to change to a setback thermostat. If you use a thermostat correctly and turn the temperatures down when you’re either sleeping or not at home, the savings can be significant," says vonSchrader. "And certainly the water. Low-flow fixtures have come so far over the years, and water is as much a precious resource in this country as energy."
To find an energy professional, call your utility company. Most offer an energy auditing service that is free for the homeowner.
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