The first step to taking a whole-house energy efficiency approach is to find out which parts of your house use the most energy. A home energy audit will pinpoint those areas and suggest the most effective measures for cutting your energy costs. You can conduct a simple home energy audit yourself, contact your local utility, or call an independent energy auditor like Goyette Mechanical for a more comprehensive examination.Here are some simple home Energy Auditing tips: Check the insulation levels in your attic, exterior and basement walls, ceilings, floors, and crawl spaces. Make sure these areas are properly insulated and the existing insulation is not damaged, worn or out of position. Check for holes or cracks around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors, light and plumbing fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets that can leak air into or out of your home. Check for open fireplace dampers. Make sure your appliances and heating and cooling systems are properly maintained. Check your owner's manuals for the recommended maintenance. Study your family's lighting needs and use patterns, paying special attention to high-use areas such as the living room, kitchen, and outside lighting. Look for ways to use lighting controls"like occupancy sensors, dimmers, or timers"to reduce lighting energy use, and replace standard (incandescent) light bulbs and fixtures with compact or standard fluorescent lamps.
After you have identified where your home is losing energy, assign priorities by asking yourself a few important questions: How much money do you spend on energy? Where are your greatest energy losses? How long will it take for an investment in energy efficiency to pay for itself in energy cost savings? How long do you plan to own your current home? Can you do the job yourself or will you need to hire a contractor? What is your budget and how much time do you have to spend on maintenance and repair?Once you assign priorities to your energy needs, you can form a whole house efficiency plan. Your plan will provide you with a strategy for making smart purchases and home improvements that maximize energy efficiency and save the most money.For more information about home energy audits, including free tools and calculators, visit energysavers.gov. For NBC 25 and Goyette Mechanical, I TMm Rob Herman helping you keep a healthy home.