Have you looked at your energy bill recently? Did you like what you saw? If not, you’re probably thinking of ways to save money. While making sure to unplug the coffeemaker while you’re at work can help reduce energy usage, a more efficient way to cut costs is to look into an energy audit.
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Energy Audit Basics
An energy audit is just what it sounds like—either you or a professional comes in and audits the energy usage around your home. By looking over how much energy is used throughout your home, and where you can reduce energy usage, you can save money on utility bills. Thus, the time and money put into the energy audit will eventually pay for itself over the course of a few months or a year or more, depending on how much you invested in the audit.
How To Get One
There are two main ways you can get an energy audit. You can either have a professional come out to perform the audit or you can do it yourself. Some energy companies will perform audits for free or reduced prices. A professional energy auditor will do a thorough inspection of your home. They will check the outside of the house, in each room, and even review your utility bills from the past year.
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The auditor will take measurements of your home, use infrared lights, and take pictures in order to assess how and where energy can be saved. They will also ask a number of questions about daily activities in the home. For example, they will want to know how many people live in the house, if anyone is home during the day, average thermostat temperature during the various seasons, and more.
These questions are essential for breaking down the costs of the utility bill and pinpointing exactly where it is you can save the most money. For more information on where to find a home auditor or information on how to conduct one yourself check out the Energy.gov website.
The Follow Up
Completing the energy audit is just the first step in saving money on energy bills. The audit will identify issues within the home. But you have to address those issues in order to reduce costs.
If leaks or drafts were located, it may be necessary to seal up doors and window sills so that warmed air is not able to get in the house. Other issues that are often found in these audits is the need to caulk or seal air leaks around electrical outlets, faucets, pipes and wiring.
Even though they are relatively small spaces, combined they have the potential to allow a great deal of air into the home which can influence the need to turn up the heat during the winter or the air conditioner during the summer. Once you start looking at all the areas where air can get into (or out of) the home, you will begin to realize just how it affects your overall home temperature.
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Energy audits are extremely useful if you have been noticing your energy bill creeping up and cannot figure out why. They aren’t just for older homes either. Even newly built or renovated homes can have potential pitfalls when it comes to energy usage. The potential amount saved in the way of energy costs will help make the audit worth it.
Photo Credit: Green Energy Futures