We are back! With our special ‘Your Green Home!’ All about your home – the energy it uses and the money you pay – for all that power.
Whether you live in a cold climate and have to crank up the heat, or live in a sunny place where you use your air conditioner most of the year, you probably know – to the penny – just how much you pay every month for utility bills. Well, let’s talk now about doing more than turning off your lights when they’re not being used, and more than knocking the furnace down a couple of degrees. Let’s talk about making a BIG impact on your bills – now – and for years to come.
And we’re talking about the Home Energy Audit.
A Home Energy Audit looks at one huge part of the equation….how to stop wasting energy. OK? And when you combine less wasted energy with using a bit less – you can really knock down those utility bills – fast.
There are a couple of different ways to do a Home Energy Audit. One way is to do-it-yourself, a room-by-room assessment of your house.
If you want to try it that way, you can go to Energy.gov for some ideas. They have some great advice. First up? Air flow. Look for air leaks or drafts around your doors and windows. You’ll also examine proper ventilation – to make sure you home is not sealed up so tight – you’re allowing dangerous fumes to stay inside. The D-I-Y version of a home energy audit also includes examining insulation, in the attic, in the basement or crawl space, and in the walls of your home. And finally, you’ll examine your heating and air conditioning system, to make sure it’s operating as efficiently as possible.
If all that sounds like too much work, or if you want the best possible energy assessment for your home, you can also hire a pro.
A professional energy audit can cost $300 TO $500, but you can often get them for much less money when they are subsidized by your local government or your utility company. In fact, some utility companies do them for free!
And as we reported on today’s show, the US Dept of Energy is partnering up with the ASHI to conduct energy audits too – which they call the home energy score.
But no matter how you get it done, here’s what you can expect.
A professional comes to your home for about an hour and looks at your insulation, your air leakage, your windows, doors, lighting and appliances, and then checks your water heater and your heating and air conditioning system. At the end of that, you’ll get a report telling you what they found, advice on how to reduce your energy use. They’ll even install some energy-saving products if you want, like water heater tank wraps and power strips.
Sometimes, they’ll do more comprehensive additional tests like a Blower Door Test and a thermographic scan of your house to see where the energy leaks are. A Blower Door Test seals an exterior door and connects it to large calibrated fan. When the fan is turned on the energy auditor will measure the air pressure to determine how severe your leaks are. While the fan elevates the air pressure in your home, a thermographic scan of your home will produce pictures that can also show where and how severe those leaks are. That might seem like a lot of work for just a few leaks around a few windows. BUT those leaks add up.
In fact, energy experts say a lot of small leaks can be the equivalent of leaving your bedroom window wide open in the middle of winter!
A comprehensive audit like that can cost up to $400. But again, some utilities will offer them at a reduced cost – more like $100.
If you’re interested, give your electric company a call, and see what they offer.
Once your home energy audit is all done, you’ll know the facts. You will know what it’s going to take to really cut down those utility bills. Might be some quick fixes are all you need. Or, you might decide to invest in new windows or more insulation.
But remember – even though saving energy can cost money up front – your utility bills will be lower for many, many years.
As we like to say on the show – knowledge is power. And in this case, knowledge about power – and your power bill – can help you live a more efficient, and economical like – in this wonderful place you call – home.