Posts Tagged ‘energy audit’

Finding and Repairing Home Air Leaks

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Over  the past winter, you likely noticed that there were some spots in your house that were a bit cooler than you would have liked. These drafts are often most noticeable around windows and doors, but don’t think these are your major sources of wasted heat and energy. Rather, in most homes, the most significant air leaks are hidden in the attic and the basement.

Where do air leaks occur in your house?

You may already know where some air leaks occur in your home, such as an under-the-door draft, but to find many of the smaller culprits, the Department of Energy recommends that you get an energy audit that includes a blower door test. A blower door test, depressurizes your home and reveals the location of many leaks.

If you don’t want to opt for a professional energy assessment or blower door test, the DOE suggests a number of less costly approaches that also provide meaningful and actionable results:

  • DIY Depressurization Test – On a cool windy day, turn off all fans, blowers, exhausts, furnaces in the house and shut all windows and doors. Use a wet hand (cool with a draft) or an incense stick (wavers in drafty area) near suspected leak areas.
  • Flashlight Test – At night, shine a flashlight over potential gaps while someone observes the house from outside. Large cracks will show up as streams of light. This method does not work well small cracks.
  • Paper Test – Shut a door or window on a piece of paper. If you can pull the paper out without tearing it, you’re losing energy. This method does not address other air leak culprits.

Once you find air leaks many are rather straightforward to repair. Energy Star provides a good DIY guide to repairing common home air leaks including, recessed lighting,  plumbing vents, and wiring holes.

The nice thing about energy-saving investments is that they can show results quickly and can often pay for themselves in two heating seasons or less.

Getting the Most from the Energy Used in Your Home

As winter approaches, you are likely thinking about ways to trim your utility bill. You may want to think about conducting a home energy audit that will pinpoint areas in your home where you may not be aware that you are wasting energy. Most people are surprised by some of the findings and for others it is the motivation they need to make the repairs/upgrades. Below are some averages provided by the US Department of Energy.

Home Energy Use: Source: 2007 Buildings Energy Data Book

You can perform a simple home energy audit yourself, or contact your local utility, or an independent energy auditor for a more comprehensive review. If you want to tackle the energy audit yourself, www.energysavers.gov or www.natresnet.org have some great resources that not only explain an energy audit, they provide some simple tools for the do-it-yourselfer.

Home Energy Audits

If you have been doing some research on how to make your home more energy efficient, you have undoubtedly come across articles that recommend you perform an home energy audit. If your like me, you read these and ask myself — so what?

Well, I finally came across an article that provides some true insight into the options and what to expect. Take a look at the Wall Street Journal article, A Quest for an Energy-Efficient House, it is a review of home energy audit options from free DIY sources to the more costly high-tech professional service.

 
 
 
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