With the Texas heat bumping up into the high 90s, I’m sure some of us have been grumbling about our utility bills. But how can we make them lower without turning our home into an uncomfortable sauna? Conduct a home energy audit and see where you could improve!
What is a home energy audit?
A home energy audit is a complete picture of all energy usage in your home in order to help find inefficiencies. It’s typically the first step before making any significant home-energy improvements or before adding any renewable energy systems to your home. It can also be a diagnostic tool for cutting down heating and cooling bills.
Can I do it myself?
There are several DIY home energy audit steps you can do yourself. However, professional companies will have the equipment, technology, and experience to give you a more accurate picture, thorough diagnosis, and recommendations for improvement. Here are some things you can do on your own:
- Check for air leaks and seal them. Check around windows, doors, light fixtures, fireplace dampers, plumbing fixtures, switches. While each may seem miniscule, together these can add a significant loss of energy.
- Check insulation. One of the fastest ways to lose heating or cooling is through poor insulation in walls and ceilings — especially in older homes. Check all the openings in the attic (ductwork, pipes, light fixtures for proper sealing.) Check for vapor barrier underneath your insulation. If not, you could paint the attic ceiling with a vapor barrier to help protect against humidity and moisture that can affect your insulation’s effectiveness. Make sure that there isn’t any insulation blocking vents to the outside.
- Take care of your heating and cooling equipment. Be sure to change your filters regularly. Put a reminder on your phone if necessary. It’s recommended to change them every month or two and you’d be amazed at the number of homeowners that don’t do this. If your unit is more than 15-20 years old, it may be working harder than it should. Getting a new system could give you lower energy bills, however you have the expense of a new system. So, you’ll need to decide which is more important.
- Check your appliances and electronics. If you need to purchase new appliances, look for ones that are more energy efficient. Use a smart home management system to turn things on and off. Even unplugging things when not in use can avoid “phantom loads.”
At the end of the day, if you want a thorough examination, it’s best to call your utility provider for a more professional Home Energy Assessment, especially if you plan on doing any home renovation or renewable energy installation.
Whether you are considering selling or acquiring property, we would love to be your trusted real estate partner and advisor. At Fredericksburg Realty and Texas Ranch Realty, we stand by our word, our authenticity and treat each client like family.