How to do an Easy DIY Home Energy Audit

DIY Energy Home Audit

When it comes to DIY home projects, it’s not only about the aesthetics. The functionality, efficiency, and ultimately, the expenses that go into your home all contribute to the value of your home. So, this year, alongside that beautiful DIY feature wall for your bedroom or that DIY storage cabinet that’s in the making, why not try a simple DIY home energy audit to ensure your household energy usage is running beautifully, too?

What is a home energy audit, you ask?

Don’t let the term “audit” make you nervous. A home energy audit is a simple way to evaluate your home from corner to corner to determine how efficient or inefficient the energy is being used in your home. It’s not uncommon for energy to be lost or to leak from certain areas, like windows or old appliances. A home energy audit is a cost-effective alternative to getting a professional electrical audit of your home done, which may involve the use of tech gadgets like moisture meters and infrared cameras to detect leaks, as well as a thorough review of past utility bills, a health and safety inspection, and an in-depth interview with the homeowner. Depending on how detailed the inspection is and depending on the size of your home, a professional energy efficiency inspection of your home can cost you $500, or more! Besides the big cost savings, the added advantage of doing a DIY home energy audit yourself is that you become intimately familiar with all nooks and crannies of your home so that, in case of any future issues, you’ll know exactly where to look and how to deal with them.

Any seasoned DIY’er will tell you that there are some essential tools that you should keep handy in your home at all times. 

What home energy audit tools are needed to do a DIY home energy audit?

In the same way that DIY home renovation projects require some basic tools like hammers, saws, safety glasses, and ladders, home energy audits require the use of tools too. Some essentials that we recommend that you keep at home at all times to assist with your DIY journey to conserving energy are:

  • Caulk and caulk gun
  • A set of air filters for your furnace
  • Smart power strips
  • LED light bulbs
  • Weatherstripping

Other items that you can invest in in the longer run include: 

  • Vapor barrier paint
  • Blackout curtains
  • ENERGY STAR appliances
  • Smart thermostat

How to do a home energy audit?

Now that you know what items and tools are helpful for conducting a DIY home energy audit, you’re ready to get started! Here is a DIY home energy audit checklist that you can use:

Work from big to small. 

Think of all the bigger spaces or items around the home that need inspecting, like your HVAC, windows, and attic. Then, work your way inwards to the smaller items around the home, like light bulbs and electrical outlets. This will help you stay organized and not get overwhelmed by the variety of things that use energy around the home that you’ll want to inspect. 

Check for air leaks and drafts.

Using the above tip, begin by checking for air leaks and drafts around windows, doors, or pipes and plumbing, and keep an eye out for cracks around the foundation, flooring, or baseboards. You may need to apply some foam caulking or weatherstripping to seal any gaps or spaces that you find, as a significant amount of heat and cool air is lost through these seemingly small spaces. You could see 10 – 20% on energy savings just from sealing these gaps!

Check your home insulation.

Next, check your home’s insulation and check to ensure your home has adequate insulation. If your house is not insulated properly, heat can escape through the floor, ceiling, or walls, running your energy bill up. Areas of particular concern include attics and basements, if your home has them. If you live in a newer build, contacting the builder can help you easily determine where exactly your home is (and is not) insulated. Also, consider adding a layer of vapor barrier paint to your interior ceilings. This can prevent water vapor from passing through your ceiling, which, over time, reduces the effectiveness of insulation and in more extreme cases, causes structural damage.

Have a closer look at your furnace. 

As one of the big-ticket energy items in your home, it’s important to ensure your HVAC is running the best it can. Make sure you’re replacing your furnace filter every 2-3 months. If your furnace is still living in the 90s, like some of us, it may be time to step into this century and invest in a new furnace. This is because they run at 55-75% efficiency, as compared to 97% efficiency with the newest models. While your upfront cost may be high, you can expect to see more than 30% on savings every year with a new furnace!

Do an audit of your major appliances.

How old are your stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, and washer/dryer? Are they ENERGY STAR appliances? If you have any extra savings, consider making the switch to newer models of appliances that fit both your aesthetic and your energy requirements. Newer appliances that are ENERGY STAR run more efficiently and can help you save money in the long run.

Evaluate all the smaller appliances and electronics.

Consider how often you use these items. This may take some reflection and require you to write down a list of your regular day-to-day activities and the corresponding devices or appliances that are needed for each activity. Review your list and evaluate which ones are for daily-use and which ones are used less frequently. Consider unplugging items that are not used regularly. Purchase some smart power strips for the more regularly used electronics and small appliances, which will allow energy to be cut off when they are not in use or in “standby” mode. Energy vampires like these can account for 10% of energy savings when unplugged or used with a smart power strip.

When things seem grim, don’t forget to look into the light! 

A quick look at your light bulbs is the last stop for your DIY home energy inspection. Switch out any incandescent light bulbs to LED light bulbs. Did you know, incandescent light bulbs, in fact, shed more heat than light? LED lights are much more energy efficient and longer lasting.

There you have it! In 7 simple steps, your DIY home energy audit is complete. And in the process, you have already nipped many issues in the bud and created simple longer-term energy solutions. We’re confident that you’ll now get to enjoy beautiful savings by making your home run with greater energy efficiency. 

What if you’re still not seeing the savings that you hoped for?

It’s possible that your current energy company has a higher rate plan than you’re comfortable with. If you need extra help achieving your energy and cost-saving goals, contact Arrow Energy today and learn more about your options!