When it comes to doing-it-yourself, you don’t have to stop at home décor. While the aesthetics of your home matter, so does its functionality, efficiency, and ultimately, the expenses that go into it. So, this year, alongside that beautiful DIY feature wall for your bedroom or that storage cabinet that’s in the making, why not start a simple DIY home energy audit to ensure your household energy usage is running beautifully, too? Here are some tips to help you get started:
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, and then work your way inwards to the smaller items around the home. 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.
Check 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!
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 you have one. If you have 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 get a new one. 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 a newer model that fits 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.
Now consider all the smaller appliances and electronics around your home.
Consider how often you use these items and 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!
Switch out your incandescent light bulbs, which in fact shed more heat than light, to LED light bulbs. LED lights are much more energy efficient and longer lasting.
In 7 simple steps, your DIY home energy audit is complete! We’re confident that you’ll now get to enjoy beautiful savings by making your home run with greater energy efficiency. If you need extra help achieving your energy goals, contact Arrow Energy today.