An energy efficient home can be a true money saver. A weatherproofed house can keep the elements out, significantly cutting heating and cooling bills. Especially during the cooler months, energy costs for an under-protected home can be excessive. In many cases, it would be considerably less expensive to have the home examined and to properly weatherproof.
For homeowners who are struggling with energy consumption and want a professional opinion, hiring an energy auditor may be the answer. Among other tests, Building Performance Institute (BPI) energy auditors perform tests to better understand the efficiency of a house based on things like air leakage. They can inform homeowners of leaks and other problems, along with suggestions on how to improve these issues. To become a BPI energy auditor, a potential auditor must show competency by passing both a written exam and a field exam.
For those proactive residents who choose to go at it alone, there are a few things to check:
Check all windows and doors for air leaks. Bad leaks can be very obvious. In older homes, one might even notice visible gaps or spaces between the frame and wall where air leaks in or curtains might move slightly on windy days. A cold, drafty wind can put a damper on a good mood as well as hike up heating costs, so be sure to remedy these problems as soon as possible.
As with windows and doors, check any vents, ducts, and pipes that run into the house. Drier vents and other similar devices that run from the interior to the exterior may let air in and out of the house, so be sure to seal around these.
If you have a window air conditioning unit, take it out during the winter months. Window units, in addition to being bulky and unattractive, can also let heat exit the home.
Seal off unused rooms and windows. If there are cooler areas in the home that won’t be used during the cooler months (such as utility rooms or basements) consider sealing them off with plastic. Blocking unused rooms with help to keep heat concentrated in the rooms where it is most needed. It will also keep you from heating rooms that don’t get used.
Even simple changes around the house can help to save on energy costs. Whether you make it a DIY project or reach out to a professional for help, keeping heat in and drafts out can be a project worth finishing this year.