How To Conduct a Easy DIY Dwelling Power Audit – Inexperienced Houses
While implementing renewable energy options in your home like solar panels or wind turbines can offset your energy usage and potentially cut your electricity bills, it’s a good idea to regularly check your home’s efficiency and make sure you aren’t inadvertently wasting energy.
Performing a household energy audit is a quick, easy, and effective way to reduce your carbon footprint, maintain your home, and save money on your energy bills. The following seven-step guide will help you determine which areas of your home have room for improvement and provide recommendations that you can implement to make your home more energy efficient.
Air leaks can let air out of your heating and cooling systems, let in outside air, and make your home drafty. Common places for air leaks are doors, window frames, baseboards, and electrical outlets.
To determine if you have an air leak or not, go to the above spots and hold a feather or string in front of you. If it moves, there is likely an air leak.
If you find air leaks, use caulking, expanding foam, or weather protection to fill and seal them. If there are air leaks near electrical outlets, place an electrical or circuit board insulating pad behind the panel.
Step 2: examine the lighting
Find out about your luminaires and determine the size and power of the lamps you need. Then turn off your power lamps with light emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) as these can give off the same amount of light as regular incandescent lamps while using much less energy.
Step 3: check Windows
Sun rays streaming into your home through windows can put a lot of strain on your cooling system. So make sure that your windows are shaded or covered in hot summer months. You can put up awnings or invest in sunshades.
However, in the colder winter months, you should not shade your windows as the sun’s rays can heat the house.
Step 4: check the plumbing
Standard shower heads, sinks, and toilets use a lot of energy. To save water, energy and money, consider switching to low flow options.
You can also save energy by lowering the water temperature. To determine your current water temperature, run hot water to your sink and test it with a kitchen thermometer. The Department of Energy recommends setting the water heater to 120 °. So if the water is hotter, turn down the knob on your hot water tank and test it again in a few hours.
Step 5: take a look at electronics and devices
Leaving your electronics and devices plugged in at all times, even when you are not using them, will consume a significant amount of unnecessary energy. If you don’t want to worry about plugging and unplugging your devices, you can buy a smart power strip that you can plug your devices into. Then you can just turn the strip off when your electronics are not in use.
When it comes to swapping equipment, buy Energy Star rated products that are certified to meet specific standards for energy efficiency and save on operating costs.
Step 6: evaluate heating and cooling systems
Check the plumbing for your heating and cooling systems and make sure they are all connected to each other and to the device. As with your windows, doors, baseboards and sockets, check whether there are air ducts in the pipes of your systems and seal any leaks.
It’s also a good idea to have your heating and cooling systems serviced annually to make sure they are in good working order, and to replace the air filters in your HVAC systems as often as recommended.
Step 7: evaluate insulation
For attics, basements, walls, and pipes, insulation should be checked every few months.
If you are looking over your attic and the insulation is level with or below the floor joists, you will likely need to add more insulation. Make sure that the insulation in your attic is evenly distributed with no deep spots.
To check the insulation of your walls, turn off the power and remove the socket covers. Point a flashlight in the gap around the socket and you should be able to see if the wall is insulated and how thick it is. If you think you might need more insulation in your walls, it’s a good idea to get a professional to work.
If your water pipes don’t have insulation, you can reduce heat loss by adding pipe jacketing wherever you have access to the pipes. The pipe wrap insulation is easy to install: just glue one end to the end of a pipe (if the insulation isn’t already self-adhesive) and wrap the insulation around the pipe, overlapping at least half an inch of each wrapper. Completely cover the pipe, making sure that no areas are exposed. Then glue the end in place.
Sarah Hancock educates consumers about how the solar industry works to help people make choices that benefit both their own interests and the environment. Connect with her on the Best Company Solar Blog and on Twitter.
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