Have you noticed a spike in your home energy bills? If you have, it could be time to perform a home energy audit. By inspecting your house's windows, doors, walls, and heating and cooling equipment, you can learn how to best make your home more energy efficient. Let's examine several techniques for gauging your house's energy use.
Check For Air Leaks
Not only can air leaks result in high home energy costs, they may allow chilly drafts to enter your house. First, carefully inspect your house's windows and doors. If sunlight passes through your house's windows or doors, then you have a leak. Next, make sure your home's windows and doors are firmly set in their frames--any movement may also point to an air leak. You can typically fix poorly sealed windows or doors with new weather stripping and caulking.
If you can't locate leaks, you might try performing a pressurization test. After closing all your house's windows and doors, turn off any combustion machines, including heaters and gas furnaces. Next, turn on your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans to remove air from the inside of your house, which should amplify airflow through cracks. Finally, dampen your hand and hold it near windows or doors to check for airflow.
Other Areas to Inspect
- Examine electrical outlets, walls, ceilings, and baseboards for cracks
- Look for open fireplace dampers
- Check the condition of your heating and cooling systems
If you cannot pinpoint your home's problem areas, or if you would like an expert's opinion, you should track down a professional energy auditor. Your electric, oil, or gas company should be familiar with reputable energy auditors in your area. Some utility companies may even offer free audits.