5 Steps To Conduct A Home Energy Audit To Reduce Your Electricity Bill
In case you note your utility bill payments are skyrocketing after regular energy use, undertaking an energy audit may help you to save energy consumption. An energy audit is a kind of domestic inspection that determines which energy is being overused in your home and what enhancements can help you. Conducting a personal energy audit won't yield equal consequences as an expert energy audit, however, it’s useful to discover possibilities to save money and frustration.
The benefits of an energy audit are as follows;
- It helps to understand how you use energy.
- It can show you the areas where you can use less energy.
- It helps reduce energy costs in your property.
- It helps reduce environmental damage and pollution.
- It can increase the security of your energy supply.
- It can reduce the consumption of natural resources.
- It helps reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.
- It ensures the proper health and safety of your home.
There are two options for household energy audits. The first is to hire an energy expert to perform a professional energy audit. The second option is to do your own walkthrough using the Household Energy Audit Checklist.
Use the 5 steps below to find places where you can improve your home's energy efficiency and save on your electricity bill.
1. Find Drafts
Drafts occur when the warm and comfortable air inside the house escapes through holes and leaks in the house and cold air enters from the outside. In this case, the heating system works hard to maintain a warm temperature, which reduces efficiency resulting in higher energy costs.
Step 1: Look for Air Leaks
- Normally, air leaks and ventilation are more likely to be found where walls and ceiling meet, or along the edges of baseboards and floors.
- Check the following areas for drafts: switches, plumbing, and sockets. (Make sure they are on a level with the wall.)
- Basements and Attics: If these areas are colder than the rest of the house, the draft may be causing the problem.
- Fireplace: Is it cold around the fireplace? Warm air can get caught in the chimney and blown out.
- Lighting: Even the smallest holes can cause air leaks.
- Windows and doors: Check for warping and lack of weather stripping.
Step 2: Seal the Air Leaks
Draft Sealing and Caulking: Seal your home with the right materials. [For example, caulking can be used to seal air leaks in the walls of sanitary fixtures. Moving parts of the house, such as windows and doors, should be covered by weather-stripping.]
Tips for Sealing Air Leaks
- Hire an energy auditor or other weathering expert to test the airtightness of your home. Seal doors and windows with gaskets. (Seal air leaks where pipes, conduits, or electrical wiring passes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits above cabinets.)
- Install a foam gasket behind the outlet to switch wall panels.
- Inspect each visual insulation for air leaks and mold on dirty areas.
- Seal the leak with a specially manufactured low foam spray foam and check the requirements to install house flashing.
- Look for and seal dirty areas of ceiling paint and carpet that may indicate air leaks from interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joints.
- Replaces a single-pane window with a more efficient double-pane window with lower emissivity. (Check the Windows section.)
- Use foam sealant if there are large gaps in areas where air can leak, such as windows and baseboards.
- Check the ventilation of the dryer to make sure it is not blocked. This saves energy and can prevent fire.
- Replace the bottom and seal of the outer door with a flexible seal.
- Close the flue gas flap tightly when not in use.
- Seal air leaks around chimneys, stoves, and gas-fired water heaters with refractory materials such as sheet metal, sheetrock, and furnace cement caulk.
- Consider inflatable chimney balloons to seal the smoke outlet when not in use. The inflatable chimney balloon fits under the fireplace flue when not in use. If you forget to remove the balloon before you start the fire, the balloon will automatically deflate within seconds of being exposed to heat. You can also create a cheap and reusable chimney by putting fiberglass scrap in a plastic trash bag and pushing it into the chimney. Attach a durable cord with a label that hangs down on the chimney, to allow you to remind that the smoke outlet is clogged and the plug can be easily removed. Be sure to repair any damage to holes, foundations, or siding.
2. Check Ventilation
Ventilation in your home may be out of date. For example, if you own an old house, the builder may have installed the necessary insulation during construction. However, due to the newer advancements in building technology, the insulation requirements may have changed. You may find inadequate or missing insulation in some areas of your home.
Tips for Checking Ventilation
- Check the air supply to the HVAC system to make sure the heaters are not overcrowded.
- Look for soot or visible smoke to find signs of bad drafts.
- Take into account ceiling and wall insulation.
- Check the attic and attic hatch.
- Confirm whether the hatch has weather stripping.
- Seal the attic gap to let warm air escape.
- Moisture-proof material under loft installation.
- Make sure the insulation does not interfere with ventilation.
3. Examine the HVAC System
The HVAC system must be properly maintained and within the manufacturer's operating life. If not, consider replacing the HVAC system. Check the HVAC system at least once a year. HVAC systems typically have a lifespan of 10-15 years. If your system is more than 15 years old, it may be time to completely replace the air conditioner.
Is there dust, soot, or an unpleasant odor? Constant fan noise? All of these are signs of an inefficient HVAC system. Check the plumbing for dirt streaks near the seams that may indicate an air leak.
Lighting accounts for about 10% of the electricity bill. Therefore, if you have old light bulbs in your house, consider switching to energy-efficient light bulbs. Find and replace regular light bulbs for energy-efficient incandescent, LED, or compact fluorescent. Also, consider adding a timer or dimmer to control the use of lighting.
Ways to Reduce the Energy Consumption of Lighting
- Do not over-light the room -Room lighting can waste a lot of energy. Normally, a room needs 20 lumens of light per square foot, but spaces such as offices and kitchens may need more light.
- Attach dimmers to the lights -Installing a dimmer in light is a simple project that can be implemented to save energy in the light. Turn on the power if you need more light for intensive activities such as reading or writing. Or turn down the light completely for a relaxed atmosphere.
- Set the lights on the timer -You can set a scheduled timer for a light so that it only comes on when you need it. Light timers are available from the hardware store for just $ 5. This simple fix helps families manage their expenses.
- Dust the light bulbs regularly -If dust collects on the lamp or light bulb, the light may show through and disappear. According to Consumer Reports, aging light bulbs and the accumulation of dust and dirt can reduce overall lighting by 50%. Dust on lamps and bulbs should be cleaned and removed regularly to achieve the most efficient lighting possible.
- Turn off the lights -This may seem obvious, but the best way to save on lighting is to make sure you turn off all the lights when you leave the room. Everyone in your family can practice this simple task to save money.
5. Home Appliances
In addition to using the device during off-peak hours, the type and age of the device also play a role in terms of energy efficiency. There are a few things to keep in mind when inspecting home appliances and electronic devices.
- Make sure your device is always connected and consider unplugging it when not in use.
- Check the device default settings and the devices you can change to use less energy.
- If energy loss increases, consider investing in new equipment.
Tips to Help You Maximize Your Energy Savings.
- Stay full when using washing machines. - Washing machines and dishwashers use the same amount of water and energy as if they were half full. Therefore, perform a full charge for maximum efficiency. Your freezer and fridge also work well when they are full. It may sound like a contradiction, but in the event of a power outage, a complete freezer and refrigerator can help keep your food at the safest temperature for a long time. Measure your temperature. Almost 90% of the energy used in the washing machine is used to heat the water. Shifting down from a hot place to a warm place can cut your energy consumption in half while effectively cleaning your clothes. Also, many of today's laundry detergents are formulated for use in cold water, so you can do the same job. Saving energy also helps protect your clothes. Washing with cold water will keep the colors bright and prevent stains, just as you can air dry without a dryer.
- In cooking, did you know that your microwave uses 30 to 80 percent less energy than a regular oven? Also, if the microwave is not the ideal way to cook, consider a toaster. The smaller the size, the less energy it consumes, and the clock pot is better. Another crazy fact: a pot without a lid uses 60% more energy on the stove. They say that every pot has a lid-so find the right size for you!
- Turn the oven into a multitasker. - Did you heat the oven anyway? Use the energy used to heat the oven and bake as much as possible. Go ahead and add extra chicken breast to bake for tomorrow's soup or mix with banana bread. The same applies to dryers. If you want to dry multiple loads one after another, you can use the residual heat. Maintain the machine. Keep your device clean for maximum efficiency. This means cleaning the dryer lint trap and hose. Check the dishwasher trap and spray arm for food debris.
- Vacuum the refrigerator coil. -Make the most of the latest machines (usually). Are you worried that these "energy-saving devices" are wasting energy while saving energy? no! Hand washing wastes both water (up to 5,000 gallons compared to the ENERGY STAR dishwasher) and uses twice as much energy as the dishwasher. And it would be impossible to understand how much less energy a washing machine uses than the old way of refilling shower tape. One device you should just walk? Hair dryer-dry as much as possible in the air!