Energy Efficiency Savings Tips for the New Year: Part 1 of 4 – Getting an Energy Audit

By Vernon Trollinger, January 9, 2013, Energy Efficiency, News, Save Money

As we step into the new year, one of the biggest resolutions people set with any fresh calendar is to save money in as many ways as possible. At Bounce Energy, we want to help you meet these goals with our new 4-part series that details a dozen different ways that you can save money by implementing energy efficiency strategies in your home. In our first installment, we’ll help you set the general groundwork for making these home improvements.

Part 1 of 4: Getting Started

Keeping your home warm during the cold and damp winter can add to your winter electricity bills. By increasing the energy efficiency of your home, you can cut those winter heating cost AND reduce your summer cooling bills while making your home more comfortable. Some consumers think that making their homes more energy efficient is a waste of money on caulk and foam or it’s an expensive investment they can’t afford. In fact, it’s really all about taking time for air sealing gaps and switching to energy efficient low-wattage lighting.

Talking to a Professional

But where do you start in the new year? Try an energy audit. You can make an appointment for an energy audit by contacting your Pennsylvania electric company or your Texas electricity provider. An energy audit performed by building performance professional will help you identify specific areas in your home’s structure that might be wasting energy and costing you money. These inspections often cost less than $75 and can help save you the same amount or more over the course of a year. One test many homeowners associate with an energy audit is the door blower test. This is done by setting up a large fan with an enclosing baffle in the front door of the home. With all other doors and windows closed, the fan is switched on. This causes a vacuum in the house that pulls air through drafty doors and windows as well as other gaps.

Think of your home as if it were a kind of thermal submarine. True, no home is completely theramally closed, but air sealing drafts does help make it more energy efficient. You want to keep the cold, moist air from leaking into your home and forcing your heated, comfortable air outside —and adding to your heating bills. By walking through the entire home during an energy audit blower test, drafty locations can be identified for air sealing with caulk or foam later on.

Doing a Simple Home Energy Audit Yourself

You can also perform an simple audit of your home’s relative energy efficiency yourself. All it takes is a pad of paper, a little bit of time, and a few hints about where problems commonly occur. Let’s start with two easy ones.

Some air sealing locations are common to all homes. For example, any place where pipe, tubing, or wires pass through the wall, ceiling or floor should be sealed with caulk or expandable foam. Places to look for these are in your attic, garage, and in your basement/crawl space. In colder climates, if any of these are water pipes, they should also be covered with pipe insulation and then sealed with caulk or foam. Sealing leaks like this not only keeps the cold air out but also lowers the amount of moisture that can enter your home. Too much moisture in your home when mixed with cold surfaces can form black mold or mildew. Black mold or mildew is known to pose health risks and it can make you or your family members sick. So, air sealing drafts with a little caulk and weather stripping or a dollop of expandable foam is also an easy way to care of your family health.

Other Easy Energy Efficiency Tips You Can Do

Another easy energy efficiency tip for your home is to replace all the incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) or LED bulbs. Incandescent bulbs work by heating a wire filament until it glows. Consequently, they use most of their energy producing heat rather than light. CFL and LED light bulbs create light either by fluorescent coating (CFL) or by electroluminescence (LED). Both are far more energy efficient as they require 75% less energy. A 60-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced by a 13 watt CFL or a 3 watt LED bulb. Admittedly, these lights do cost more however, they have much longer lifespans; CFL last 10 time longer and LEDs up to 25 times longer. Cutting the amount of energy you spend on lighting can really lower your winter Texas electric or Pennsylvania power bills.

Check out our handy video on getting a home energy audit:

Stay tuned for Part Two: Ductwork, Mudsills, and Hot water.

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Comments (2)

 

  1. Merrilee Degeyter says:

    Great tips! This is an awesome blog. Thanks for the post.

  2. Tony parker says:

    Some very good points in this article. These points would be very helpful for choosing a good home energy services. Will you post some more in future? I’ll be thankful if you will.