How to Perform an Energy Assessment on Your Home
It’s no secret that Connecticut faces some of the most brutal winters of all states in the U.S. As frigid temperatures infiltrate, it’s only natural for us to crank up the heat to stay warm. But, the demand for warmth can also increase your energy bills.
Especially if your home is not energy efficient.
To ensure you stay warm and cut down costs, you’ll need to perform an energy assessment on your home. To spread awareness, Santa’s Director of Energy Services, Daniel Martins, recently shared some tips in a conversation with News 12.
Step One: Inspect Your Heating and Cooling System
Though you should pay special attention to this step if you live in an older home, newer homes could also have room for improvement when it comes to making your home more energy efficient.
Analyze the following to optimize your energy output:
- Ducts: According to Energy Star, “about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes and poor connections.” Check to see if your duct system has cracks or gaps that may be causing inefficiencies. Dust rings near your ducts are a tell-tale sign of air leaks. If you see any damage to your system, it can be easily repaired using duct tape.
- Windows and doors: Are your doors and windows sealed properly? Air leaks are a common cause of energy inefficiency, but luckily they are easy to fix. If you notice gaps, you can easily apply weather stripping or caulking trim to doors and windows with gaps allowing in cold air. If you need to replace your windows, consider Energy Star Certified models, which are estimated to save a consumer anywhere from $150-500 per year in energy costs.
- Appliances: Experts in the industry recommend that appliances older than 10 years should be upgraded. Anything older will typically consume far more energy than newer, more environmentally-friendly models.
Technology has come a long way over the last decade, and systems are more energy efficient than ever. If you feel like your energy bill is straining your budget, and you’ve already sealed leaks in your ducts, windows and doors, consider replacing your current system. Though the upfront cost may feel intimidating, the return on investment will save you a substantial amount of money over the years.
Additionally, if you shop with Santa, we offer financial assistance programs to help optimize your home, without breaking the bank.
Step Two: Give Your Insulation and Sealing a Check-Up
Insulating material slows the movement of heat, which means that the better your insulation is, the more energy efficient your home is. For homes that have not performed an energy assessment, you can expect about:
See how your current insulation holds up. With a quick spot check, you can easily see if heat loss is occurring in your home:
- Walls and attics: These are often culprits of inadequate insulation. Thoroughly examine pipes, chimneys, and attic hatches for insulation gaps. If you spot any gaps, use expanding foam to seal the spaces that are creating energy inefficiencies.
- Floors: If they aren’t already insulated, guard your floors against heat loss. This is especially important for older homes, and homes with uninsulated basements. Experts suggest the minimum insulation rating for floors should be R-25 to R-30 for homeowners in Connecticut.
- Home exterior: Also known as the ‘shell’, the home exterior includes the outer walls, ceiling, windows, and sometimes the floor. Insulating and sealing the ‘shell’ can save homeowners up to 10% of their total energy bill, but should only be done by either a very knowledgeable homeowner or a professional.
While many insulation and sealing updates can be performed as a DIY task, some of the more complex and visible needs, like those on the home’s exterior, should be left to a contractor.
Step Three: Practice Energy Saving Habits
Some of our day-to-day habits and purchases can also be assessed for lower energy consumption. Even minor tweaks can help you conserve energy in your home:
- Hot water use: Installing hot water saving shower heads and faucet aerators can lower energy costs
- Unplug from power: Unplug your appliances when you’re not using them to cut energy costs
- Excess power usage: Turn off your T.V., and the lights in rooms you’re not in to save energy
- Upgrade your energy: Change your light fixtures to LED light bulbs for cost savings
It’s not always about making big changes or investing in new appliances. Often you can cut your energy usage and save money by altering your everyday behavior.
Should you DIY or ask a professional?
A DIY assessment will get you started, but to ensure you get the job done correctly, it’s wise to bring in the professionals.
When our Director of Energy Services, Daniel Martins, performed an energy assessment on News 12, he used high-quality equipment and industry best practices that may not be accessible or well-known to the typical homeowner. For instance, Martins utilized:
- A blower door test to determine the amount of air leakage of the home
- A thermal camera to show where leaks were coming from
After Martins’ assessment, he could easily, accurately, and cost-effectively go to work correcting the homes energy efficiency issues.
And, we want to perform the same top-notch service for you as well.
The technicians at Santa Energy are experts in performing home energy assessments and can help you save hundreds of dollars on your energy bills each year.