Conduct Your Own Energy Audit -- Savings Experiment
Is your utility bill still high after having tried every energy-savings trick in the book? Bringing in a professional auditor to detect energy leaks can help, but it can also cost you hundreds. Here are some simple tips to help you tackle the some of the inspections yourself.
One easy way to pinpoint common energy leaks is to either use a candle or a stick of incense.
All you have to do is light it up, and carefully hold it near any areas that heat can escape, like the fireplace. Up to 20 percent of warm air can leak though here. If you start to see the flame flicker or the smoke drift, you know you've found a draft that needs fixing.
Other common culprits for leakage include attic and basement openings, electrical outlets and switches and doors and windows. To seal up cracks and crevices less than a quarter-inch, a little silicone caulk will do the trick. For larger gaps up to 1-inch wide, an expanding polyurethane foam insulation would work best.
Next, check your heating and cooling units. These account for over 40 percent of your home's energy use. Make sure your filters are replaced regularly and get an inspection to make sure everything is in proper working condition.
Lastly, inspect your lighting, appliances and home electronics, which make up nearly 30 percent of your home's energy use. If your device has an indicator light, a charger, or an AC power adapter, it's likely using phantom power, which means that it continues to sap energy even when it's supposedly turned off. To keep these devices from draining your budget, try using a power strip for your chargers, TVs and computers so that you can easily switch it off before going to bed.
These are just a few ways you can get started with your own energy audit. A little research and elbow grease can help decrease your utility bill and potentially save you hundreds of dollars each year.