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In Chicagoland’s and Central Illinois’ blistering summer heat and brutal winter cold, if your home is wasting energy, you’ll be wasting money right along with it. Checking your home’s energy efficiency is something that should be done on a regular basis. Making improvements will not only increase your comfort level, but will also help you save on energy costs and be more environmentally friendly.
A “Do-It-Yourself” Home Energy Audit
With a simple but diligent walk-through, you can perform a basic energy audit to identify what your home is doing well and what needs to be improved. Here are the 5 areas you should be focusing on during your examination:
1. Locate Air Leaks
Air leaks in your home are one of the largest energy wasters. Not only do they allow conditioned air to escape, they let outdoor air infiltrate your home, causing issues with indoor air quality (IAQ) and temperature regulation. Air leaks can also cause unexpected moisture issues. These seemingly harmless gaps and cracks are actually serious energy pitfalls.
During your home’s evaluation, be sure to check for any gaps along baseboards, at the edge of flooring and at junctures of walls and ceilings. You can also perform your own homemade blower door test. Start by closing all doors and windows, turning off all appliances and exhaust fans. Then use incense sticks to locate air leaks by following the trail of smoke. Although rudimentary, this will give you a general idea of which areas of your home need to be air sealed.
2. Check Your Insulation
Insulation is the second key to having a comfortable and energy efficient home. If you can, assess your attic’s insulation, any insulation in your basement and even in your garage. In addition to visually gauging the status of your insulation, check for any visible openings in pipes, ductwork, chimneys or cracks in any foam caulk or other sealant.
3. Examine Your Recessed Lighting
If your home has any recessed lights, it’s likely that there are air leaks and insulation issues around them. By looking in your attic you can see whether your recessed lights are properly insulated and air sealed. If they’re not, you’re undoubtedly losing lots of energy.
4. Inspect Your AC Unit
Air conditioning units and other heating units need regular maintenance. Check your HVAC units for any leaks and dirty filters. Leaks can be dangerous, while dirty filters decrease your home’s IAQ and the unit’s efficiency. Also, if your unit is over 15 years old it will generally be more cost-effective to replace the system entirely.
5. Check Your Bulbs
The lighting in your home accounts for approximately 10% of your electricity bill. Examine what bulbs your lamps are using, and switch inefficient incandescent light bulbs for energy efficient LEDs or CFLs. You should also aim to generally decrease your home’s light usage to help you reduce costs. While this might seem like a small change, it can make a huge impact, especially if you have a large home.
Professional Energy Audits with Assured Energy Solutions
Assured Energy Solutions provides home energy audits conducted by certified professionals using assessments such as the blower door test and thermal camera imaging to locate inefficiencies in your home’s energy usage. We can then provide a detailed outline of solutions to combat any energy efficiency issues in your home.