Before hiring an interior designer it is very helpful in the overall scheme of things to go through your home energy audit checklist. Making sure that you’ve done your preparation work in advance will help you to save time and money when you get ready to have a home improvement specialist or designer make changes to your living space.
A home energy audit identifies which of your appliances are in compliance with delivering efficient energy into your home. In addition, the audit examines how you use your home, the occupants’ lifestyles, and the health of your home’s overall structure.
Also note that many states will perform an energy audit at no charge. However, you can also hire a professional to do the home energy audit for you, but be prepared to pay a fee, depending upon all the items on their checklist.
Here are the top items to include in your checklist, whether you decide to make the repairs yourself or hire someone else to do it:
1. Seal your duct system so that your heating and air-conditioning usage will be more efficient and not a health risk to your family.
If an air duct is not properly sealed or is leaking, it can threaten your family’s safety and health. For example, walls, attics, and crawl spaces could become over-pressurized which would cause heated or cooled air to be forced outside the home. Likewise, if the ducts leak, then dust, pollen and dirt will be brought into your home through returned air. In addition, allergens, dust, or mold spores could pose a health threat to your environment.
Furthermore, carbon monoxide and dangerous gases would be distributed throughout your home as a result of air supply ducts that leak.
2. Inspect your electrical circuits to make sure they’re evaluated for effectiveness and consistency.
3. Check your natural gas lines if you have them, and also make sure to measure your insulation levels.
You don’t want to have any gas leaks, and if the insulation is lacking in certain areas, you can add it to make your home more energy efficient. Just make sure when you’re adding insulation in the attic that you should not cover the vents that circulate the air throughout the home.
4. Test how tight the air is in your home.
Your home should be sealed in such a way that you can measure how often fresh air enters the home, and how often your inside air is recirculated or exchanged with the air outside.
To locate leaks, you can perform a simple pressurization test. Close all windows, doors, and your fireplace flue. Turn off all furnaces and water heaters, including gas fireplaces. Next, you’ll want to run the exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathrooms, or run a window fan that allows the air to be circulated to the outside of your home. To test for leaks, light an incense stick and watch the direction where the smoke is drawn to. Then locate the leak and make a note of how you will seal it.
5. Obtain a brochure from your city’s utility company that lists all the items that will be checked for free when you have an energy audit performed. In addition, you can download checklists from the Internet that are specific to trained professionals.
6. Check your heating and cooling equipment.
If your units are more than fifteen years old, they should probably be replaced with more energy-efficient units. Even though you might want to rationalize that it’s too expensive, you could spend double in energy costs by not replacing the units. Also, this would be a good time to check your furnace filters and replace them or clean them if they’re more than a month old.
7. Save energy by checking the lighting in your home.
This would be a good time to replace your larger wattage light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs than can save more than 50 percent on your electric bill.
If you have areas in your home that would benefit from fluorescent lamps rather than high wattage light bulbs, then by all means replace them. Hallways, for example, don’t need to be lit up like an airport runway. Soft ambient lighting to allow safe passage is all that’s needed.
Check with your local utility company to see if they’re offering any rebates or incentives for buying more energy-producing products.
With all the energy-efficient loans and tax credits that are available to homeowners, the home energy audit can help you apply for loans or grants that are free and never have to be paid back. It’s well worth your time to make sure your home is as energy efficient as possible.