A few years ago a home inspector I have known for many years called to see if I would allow him to perform an energy audit on my home. After many years as an inspector he was taking the course to become certified.
He went on to explain that it would not cost me anything. Of course I agreed and he conducted the audit. I was very surprised to see the source of potential energy leaks. One was the electrical outlets in my walls!!
With the rising cost of electricity and gas it is something you should consider, as some minor changes could prove to be very worthwhile and reduce the cost of your utility bills.
Home Energy Audit Checklist
We all know and recognize that saving energy is cost effective, but you may not recognize how inefficient your home really is until you conduct an energy audit. You can spot many problems in your home with a simple walk-through. Keep a checklist of areas you inspect and any problems or issues you find. This will help you prioritize your energy efficiency upgrades.
Energy expended by lighting accounts for about 10% of your hydro bill. Check the wattage of the light bulbs in your home. You can exchange 100 watt bulbs and in most cases use a 60 or 75 watt bulb. Compact Fluorescent lamps for higher uses area are also recommended.
If insulation levels are less than the recommended minimum, heat loss through the ceiling and walls in your home could be high. Consider upgradeding especially if you have an older home
- Ensure any vents are clear and not blocked by insulation.
- Check the attic hatch to ensure it has the same level of insulation as the attic and ensure it closes tightly.
- Check the vapour barriers are in place beneath the insulation.
- In the attic check to ensure ductwork and chimney are sealed and seal any gap with expanding foam or other permanent sealant.
- Check for indoor air leaks along baseboards, junctures of the walls and ceiling, or the edge of flooring
- Make a list of any obvious drafts. The saving from reducing drafts could range from % – 30% at year, depending on the severity of the drafts or leaks you find.
- Check to see if air can flow through these places: electrical outlets, switch plates, window frames, baseboards, weather stripping around doors, fireplace dampers, attic hatches and wall or window mounted air conditioners, gaps around pipes and wires, foundation seals and mail slots.
- Check windows and doors for air leaks
- Try rattling them, as movement means possible air leaks
- Another method is to use a lit candle and hold it in front of the windows and doors around the frame to see if there is any air movement
- If you see daylight around a door or window frame, then it leaks.
- Seal these leaks by caulking or weather stripping.
- Replace windows and doors with high efficiency ones.
Heating and Cooling Equipment
Your heating and cooling systems should be inspected and cleaned annually to maintain their efficiency. Ensure you replace the filters on a regular basis. This is recommended at least every 2-3 months, especially during period of higher usage.
Consider replacing your heating and/or cooling system with a newer higher efficient units, if they are more than 15 years old. A new unit would greatly reduce your energy consumption.
Inspect areas where two different building materials meet, i.e. all exterior corners, where siding and chimney meet, areas where the foundation and bottom of exterior brick or siding meet. Check the caulking around exterior doors and windows and check whether the exterior storm door and primary door seal tightly. Look for any cracks in the mortar, foundation and siding and seal with appropriate material.
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