Home Energy Checkup

This video from the Department of Energy is a great way to educate your customers on home energy efficiency.

In any season a leaky home costs money. How do you stop it? It starts with a comprehensive home energy checkup. It’s a series of tests and inspections to find out where your house could be more efficient, The end goal is to save energy, save money, and make your house more comfortable.


Installing energy-efficient lighting and appliances will help. So will creating a sealed barrier around your house – kind of like putting a blanket around the outside, minimizing the leaks. Upgrading your home to save energy can put anywhere from five to thirty percent of your energy bill back in your pocket.


To get a thorough home energy checkup you’ll need some help from a professional. Look for a home technician, called an auditor, in your area. In a cold weather evaluation the auditor starts on the outside looking for problems around walls, joints, and under the eaves. If there’s not a tight fit, then you’re losing energy and money.


Next the technician might head up to your attic to check for leaks on the top of your home barrier. The trap door could be a culprit – letting cold air pass into the house. A big part of the checkup is determining how well the insulation insulates. Insulation should be correctly installed in between all areas of the house frame. That means it needs to be evenly applied and not just jammed into spaces, and of course if the insulation is fallen down it’s not working. Your energy auditor will inspect the holes where electrical lines pass through. If they’re not sealed they’re leaking.


In the basement, your furnace and water heater could be wasting energy. The auditor will check to see how energy-efficient the furnace is. Furnaces generally lose efficiency as they get older and it could cost you more to keep yours running then replace it with a new one. Maybe all you need is a new filter. Some people haven’t changed their filter for months – even years. That gunk clogging the filter means your furnace has to work harder to heat your home. If the water heater is several years old it may not be efficient and if it isn’t insulated it’s also losing energy. The technician will also inspect ductwork connections to ensure they make a tight fit. They have to be sealed to keep the warm air going where it’s supposed to go.


The energy auditor will conduct what is called the blower door test. They will close all the windows and doors and anything else that lets outside air in. This special fan will depressurize the home the idea is to suck air out of the house allowing outside air to rush into the home through all those openings you didn’t know about. With the windows and doors closed, and the fan running, leaks are easy to spot with an infrared camera. In winter the auditor will scan the interior of the home looking for cold air rushing in.


Recessed lighting fixtures can be big problems. The auditor will take a look at the kinds of lightbulbs in those fixtures. If they’re incandescent they’re using a lot of energy. Warm compact fluorescents are an energy-saving alternative.


A home energy assessment reveals ways that energy escapes your home costing you money. Getting a comprehensive home energy report will help you know which efficiency upgrades are right for you, and where to stop those pesky leaks.