A home energy audit, is the first step to assess how much energy your home consumes and to evaluate what measures you can take to make your home more energy efficient,” reports the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). “An assessment will show you problems that may, when corrected, save you significant amounts of money over time.”
“During the assessment, you can pinpoint where your house is losing energy,” adds DOE. “Energy assessments also determine the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems [and] may also show you ways to conserve hot water and electricity.”
You can conduct your own energy audit if you know where to look for air leaks (drafts), water waste (leaks) and other key areas of a home’s inefficiencies. The DOE’s energysavers.gov website has guidelines to help homeowners conduct their own do-it-yourself home energy assessments. For instance, DOE recommends that homeowners make a list of obvious air leaks, such as through gaps along baseboards or at the edges of flooring and at walls, windows ,ceiling junctures,attics and craw l spaces. The potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home can be as high as 30 percent per year, reports DOE.
Here are some simply ways you can reduce energy use in your home and keeping it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Replace the old blinds on your windows. “Did you know that some of the newer shades and drapery can be more energy efficient than a new window? Not only stopping the drafts, but giving your home the ability to control the sun. Also for cooling and for passive (free) heating. Without energy-efficient window treatments, as much as 50% of a home’s heating and cooling energy can be lost through its windows.” said Brian Strauss from Red Star Decorating.
It’s a scientific fact that heat is attracted to cold. In winter months, indoor heating moves toward and escapes through windows to the outdoors, while in summertime, the outside heat flows into your home through these same windows. Many new window treaments boast high R-values—the measure of a product’s ability to resist heat flow—helping reduce energy consumption, save on heating and cooling costs, and creating a more comfortable room setting.
Another way is to check and replacing the filters on heating and cooling equipment to keep your furnace and air conditioners functioning at maximum efficiency. Over 15 years old? consider replacing.
Swapping out older incandescent bulbs in light fixtures with higher efficiency compact fluorescent or LED bulbs will save money and energy. Incandescant Lightbulbs will be phased out in 2014.