An energy audit of your home is a good weekend project that will help you save money on your monthly energy bills. The audit will expose spots where air leaks in and out of your home, your insulation levels are inadequate, or you have issues with your heating, cooling and/or ventilation systems. Doing your own energy audit won’t take long and in most cases, the repairs will be easy to make.
A visual inspection of your home can turn up cracks, crevices or holes where air enters or leaves your home. Pay special attention to the window frames, inside and out. Seal them with caulk, or use weatherstripping on window sashes. Exterior doors are another culprit for air leakage. Fresh weatherstripping around the door frames helps stop air leaks, and a door sweep will help curb air infiltration at the bottom.
Sometimes the joint between the foundation and basement can leak, as can the places where wires, cables or pipes enter your home. Expanding foam will seal these leaks. The attic can also be a place where air enters around gaps between the chimney, vent stacks or flues. When sealing leaks for chimneys or flues, use metal flashing or a heat-resistant silicon caulk.
Check the attic for adequate insulation during the energy audit. It should have at least 16 inches between the floor joists. If it’s lacking, blown-in fiberglass or cellulose insulation is inexpensive and easy to add. The attic hatch or door should be insulated and have weatherstripping around the edge, as well. If your basement isn’t insulated or heated, adding batt insulation to the ceiling will decrease heat transfer.
One common problem associated with HVAC equipment is ductwork that leaks. If you notice dust or dark spots near the heat registers, it’s likely you have loose or weak joints in the ductwork. Sealing them with metal tape or mastic sealant will save significant energy. Never use ordinary duct tape to seal ducts, since its adhesive doesn’t have staying power. Inspect your air filter during the energy audit, and change it when it looks dirty. Get in the habit of doing a monthly filter inspection.
If you would like to learn more about a DIY energy audit, please contact us at Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ve been providing quality HVAC services in the greater Cleveland area for 75 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Western Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about energy audits and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!
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