Fall-ish temps have moved into Iowa the last few weeks, which means winter is not all that far behind. What else does it mean?…..It’s time for an energy audit so you can save energy yet still stay warm throughout the colder months.
While some energy companies may perform an energy audit free of charge we recommend a DIY energy audit as a great place to start.
The main reasons to conduct an energy audit yourself is to save money, but also to give you a hands-on experience in your energy usage so even if you do hire a company for an audit you’ll better understand the auditor’s evaluation and recommendations. As well once you’ve conducted your own audit, you’ll be more prepared to talk to a professional so you can ensure your home has a thorough audit.
Things You Must Include in a DIY Home Energy Audit
- First start with the ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick and compare your home’s energy efficiency to other similar homes and get recommendations from ENERGY STAR.
- Walk through the home and make a list of potential energy wasting problems (air leaks around windows or doors, insufficient insulation, etc.). Record your findings in a notebook or on a tablet or smartphone. Use this DIY energy audit guide to help you.
- Evaluate the condition of the home’s furnace. Change the filter, if needed, and make sure it’s cleaned and serviced by a professional once a year. If the furnace is over 15 years old, it may be time to replace it for a newer more energy-efficient model.
- One of the most important aspects of a DIY energy audit include checking around windows, doors, baseboards, outlets and other areas for air leaks, and verifying that weatherstripping is undamaged. Also don’t skip an inspection of the attic insulation. The Department of Energy has a guide which will help you understand how to inspect it and how to check its depth and R-value.
- Replace light bulbs, shower heads and old appliances with energy-saving options.
Should You Hire a Professional?
You can pay a professional Home Energy Auditor to conduct an energy audit as well. A professional auditor uses more precise equipment to perform a thorough audit, including using blower doors to measure the extent of leaks or using infrared cameras to better reveal leaks and missing insulation. A professional audit may cost $300 to $500, but contact your local energy utility to see if they offer discounts. To find a certified Home Energy Rater, visit the ENERGY STAR for Homes Partner Locator.