May 21, 2011
When performing an energy audit, first conduct a walk-through to identify maintenance and home improvement issues that could be creating energy problems. Consider the following suggestions and tips from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Home Instead Senior Care® network:
- Check your attic, attic stairway, attached garage walls and basement to make sure your home is insulated to recommended levels for your area. Well-insulated ceilings can prevent the formation of damaging rooftop ice dams, and the danger of roof damages or falling icicles. Well-insulated crawlspaces reduce the likelihood of frozen water pipes. A comprehensive effort to make the home's walls, ceilings, floors and windows more efficient pays off in less expensive furnace and air conditioner bills.
- Wrap your hot water heater in an insulating jacket.
- Schedule an annual tune-up for your heat pump, furnace or boiler. Your utility company may provide this service.
- Clean or replace filters on forced-air furnaces and seal flues in fireplaces you don't use.
- Hire a professional to seal and insulate leaky ducts, and to ensure that the airflow distribution system serving your heating equipment is operating at peak efficiency. Efficient duct systems help eliminate pressure imbalances in homes that can precipitate indoor air quality problems such as backdrafting of combustion appliances or the entry of radon gas into the home.
- Install drapes or some other covering on windows. Also, highly insulated windows improve thermal comfort, reduce ultraviolet fading of furnishings, are a deterrent to burglars, and cut down on exterior noise.
- Seal holes around plumbing and heating pipes.
- Check caulking and weather-stripping, and repair where necessary.
- Use compact fluorescent lamps, which last longer, reducing the hassle, cost and risk of injury associated with lamp changes. CFL fluorescent torchiere light fixtures eliminate a serious fire hazard posed by the halogen fixtures they replace.
- When purchasing a new clothes washer, horizontal-axis clothes washers remove stains more effectively and trim water and detergent bills.
For more information about Home Instead Senior Care, visit www.homeinstead.com. To learn more about energy efficiency, go to the Department of Energy Home Energy SaverTM (HES) website at http://hes.lbl.gov/consumer/learn and http://hes.lbl.gov/consumer/learn-triple. HES computes a home's energy use online in a matter of seconds based on models and data developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
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