The Do-It-Yourself Energy Audit: A Saturday Project With Long-Term Potential
Conducting your own energy audit is a cost-effective way to uncover problems in your home that contribute to high cooling and heating bills. It only takes a few hours to uncover the places where you have air infiltration or inadequate insulation. The materials it takes to remedy these problems are inexpensive, durable and have a fast and long-term payback.
Energy auditors and HVAC professionals conduct a blower door test to find air infiltration using special equipment, but you can mimic this test using nothing more than a drawing of your home, a stick of incense and your ventilation fans. Follow these steps:
- Make a simple drawing of your home.
- Close all the windows and exterior doors.
- Turn on the kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans.
- Light the incense and walk through your home.
- Note on the floorplan of your home where the smoke wavers. When it moves more than normal, it indicates an air leak.
The places on which to focus are your window frames, exterior door frames, electrical outlets that sit on exterior walls and places where pipes, cables and wires come into your home. Once you’ve identified them, use exterior caulk, expanding foam or insulation to seal the gaps. Fresh weatherstripping prevents air leaks from ill-fitting doors. Foam gaskets seal outlets and switches.
To inspect your insulation, look in your attic. If the top of your joists are visible, you can add more. If you’re not sure, take a picture and bring it to a home improvement store and ask the staff, who can show you how to add more and the best kind for the application.
When you inspect your attic, look at the condition of the existing insulation if the ductwork for your HVAC system runs through it. If you see any dust that’s accumulated near the ducts, you may have leaks that spew your air conditioned air into the attic, wasting considerable energy and money.
If your energy audit turns up duct leaks or other issues for which you would like our expertise, please contact us at Rinaldi’s Air Conditioning. We have served central Florida for 42 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers 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.
Rinaldi’s services Orlando, Florida and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!