Getting an energy audit, or energy assessment, is important if you suspect that you are wasting too much energy. Perhaps your energy bills are higher than usual – or maybe you are experiencing uneven temperatures and climates in different parts of your home – there are many legitimate reasons why you may have your suspicions. Performing an energy audit is also important for the sake of the environment – if you are wasting energy, you are also widening your carbon footprint, which is contributing to global warming and other negative consequences of rising greenhouse gas emissions. Before you perform an energy audit, though, you want to make sure that you keep a few things in mind. Here are five DIY energy assessment tips for homeowners.
- Get geared up. A home energy audit, or assessment, requires that you burrow under your home, behind crawl spaces and through your attic. These areas aren’t necessarily livable, so you can expect running into a lot of cobwebs, raw wood, nails and other things that could cause an injury. This is why you need goggles, gloves and thick clothing to keep you protected.
- Understand the importance of R-values. Understanding the definition and meaning or R-values is important, because there is a good chance that you will run into a lot of insulation during your home energy audit. The R-value of insulation is basically a categorization that determines what type of climate region the insulation is intended for. For instance, if you live in a colder climate, you will need a different R-value than you would if you lived in a moderate or warmer region. When you are conducting an audit, you want to make sure your insulation has the correct R-value.
- Have a list. A list will be important – it will help you remember all the items and sections of your home you need to assess. You may want to start with heating and air conditioning – do you have a programmable thermostat or not? One of the biggest benefits of programmable thermostats is that they can help cut down your energy usage. If you don’t have one installed, you may want to think of installing a programmable system.
- Use the candle method. The candle method is a great DIY method to determine if you have energy leaks in your window frames and casements. Sometimes, it can be hard to feel these leaks with your bare hands, so you have to use the candle method. All you have to do is close all the windows and doors – you don’t want there to be a breeze. Then you want to light a candle and move it along your window frame – if you see the flame quiver, you have found a leak.
- Know when to hire a professional energy auditor. Some people say that you should always call a professional energy auditor – just to double check your assessments. However, if you know what you are doing, you may only need to contact an auditor if you run into a problem that really stumps you. In the end, it really is up to you.