Home Energy Audits

Check levels of insulation in your exterior and basement walls, ceilings, attic, floors and crawl spaces. You wish to contact your local contractor for advice on how to check your insulation and levels you need for your region.

Check for holes or cracks around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors, switches, and electrical outlets.
Fix any holes or cracks that are present. Outlet sealers and outlet switches can be placed behind your plates which will prevent air leakage in and out of your home
Sealer and switch outlets

Check for open fireplace dampers
Keep in mind that your fireplace is one of the most inefficient heat sources you use. When used, your fireplace consumes heat in your home and sends it to the outside, making your furnace work harder to replace this heat loss. Consider turning your thermostat setting down between 50 and 55 degrees when using your fireplace. Also check the seal on the flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
Check your heating and cooling systems.
Regular maintenance and cleaning will make your heating and cooling systems run efficient. Check filters and replace if necessary.
 
Check your ducts for air leaks
Look for sections that should be joined but have separated and for obvious holes. You can use duct tape to repair any sections, but be sure to look for the UL Logo to avoid tape that degrades, cracks and loses its bond with age.
Note: Insulating ducts in the basement walls will make the basement colder. Water pipes and drains in unconditioned spaces could freeze and burst if the heat ducts are fully insulated. There would be no heat source to prevent the space from freezing in cold weather. However, using an electric heating tape wrap on the pipes can prevent this.
 
Talk a walk around your house outside.
Check windows and doors to make sure there is proper caulking. Recaulk areas that are needed. Also check around hose bibs or any plumbing fixtures and vents for proper caulking and sealing.
Caulking
 
Consider replacing old windows, doors, or appliances
Consider replacing with high efficiency windows, doors, or appliances. Although this may a high initial cost, you should also consider the benefits of saving money in the future by replacing these.
 
The final step is to study your family's lighting needs and use patterns
Pay attention to high use area. Look for ways to use day lighting. Use lighting timers while your away from home. This is also great for security. Replace incandescent bulbs and fixtures with compact or standard fluorescent lamps. Compact fluorescent may cost more initially but lasts 10x longer than standard and use less energy.
Lighting
 
After you have identified places where your home is losing energy, you can assign priorities. Ask yourself a few important questions first:
-How much money do you spend on energy?
-Where are your greatest energy losses?
-How long will it take for an investment in energy?
-Can you do the job yourself, or will you need to hire a contractor?
-What is your budget and how much time do have to spend on maintenance and repair?

Your plan should provide you with a strategy for making smart purchases and home improvements that maximize energy efficiency and save the most money.
 
Another option is to get the advice of a professional in your area. Many utilities conduct energy audits for free or a nominal charge. For a fee, a professional contractor will analyze how your home's energy systems work together as a system and compare the analysis against your utility bills.  They should also give you a list of recommendations for cost-effective energy improvements with enhanced comfort and safety.