An Energy Audit

Your home is wasting energy as you read this article. In fact, every year the average American spends $450 on energy that escapes through holes and cracks in their home. But there's an easy way to save energy and money at home. A home energy audit can help you develop a whole-house energy efficiency plan and set you on a path to start reducing your home's energy consumption.

A Road Map for Your Home's Energy Use

An energy audit is the first step towards finding out how to make the right improvements in your home. Performed by an home efficiency expert, an energy audit will show you all of the ways your home uses energy and how it wastes it. The complete diagnostic evaluation will look at your home's envelope, insulation, mechanical equipment, lighting and appliances. The result is a fully customized plan that is specifically designed to tell you what low-cost solutions are going to make the biggest impact on your pockets – as well as your home's comfort, air quality and environmental impact.

Properly Insulate

Chances are your home is poorly insulated. In fact, only 20 percent of homes built before 1980 are properly insulated; and most new homes are insulated to the minimum standards to keep costs down.

Proper insulation helps keep the heat in your home where you need it the most. In homes with a poorly insulated attic, the heat will naturally flow into those areas. This causes your heating and cooling systems to work longer and harder to keep your living areas at a comfortable temperature

Seal Gaps and Cracks

Additionally, sealing your home's structure means your heating system will not constantly struggle to distribute warm air to keep your home comfortable and efficient. Properly sealing, caulking and weather-stripping all of the holes and cracks in your home can save you as much as 10 percent on your energy bills during the winter.

Control Your Heating and Cooling Bills

Heating and cooling systems are the single largest source of home energy consumption, burning as much as 50 to 70 percent of your home's energy bills. So, homeowners need to make sure they are taking the proper steps to make sure their systems are running as efficiently as possible. You should check the age of your heating and cooling equipment, and have it cleaned and serviced regularly.

Be sure to replace your filters regularly as indicated by the manufacturer, and have a professional service your furnace or air conditioner before peak seasonal use. If your heating or cooling equipment needs to be replaced due to age or condition, check with a professional to decide what system would be best for your home.