We're Not Paying to Heat the Whole Neighborhood!
Homes are becoming more energy efficient, but there is always room
for improvement. Performing an energy audit will reveal areas of your home
that waste energy so you can repair them.
With the advent of energy efficient appliances it is easy to believe that
our homes are energy efficient. While many homes are more energy efficient
than homes of the past, installing energy efficient appliances is only the
first step to establishing a home that uses energy wisely. Your heating and
cooling systems can be energy efficient, but if the air they produce is
escaping from your home, you are wasting a great deal of energy. A home
energy audit can highlight the areas in your home that waste energy, which
costs you money. You can hire a professional to audit your home, but it is
also a task that you can perform yourself if you have a little time.
Begin your audit by checking the level of insulation in your exterior and
basement walls, ceilings, floors, crawl spaces and your attic. Look for
holes or cracks in your walls and ceilings, and around windows, doors,
lights, plumbing fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets. These holes
can leak air into or out of your home. Be sure all fireplace dampers are
closed, and consider purchasing glass enclosures for your fireplaces. Also,
properly maintain your appliances and heating and cooling systems to save
money on your monthly utility bills.
Next, examine how you light your home. Specifically, look for ways to use
natural daylight to reduce your use of electric lights, and replace
incandescent bulbs and fixtures with fluorescent lamps.
Once you have examined your home, list all the improvements that need to be
made-even if they seem too expensive for your current budget. It is
important to remember that you don't need to solve all of your energy
inefficiencies at one time. Note the items that are inexpensive
"do-it-yourself" jobs and begin to work on these. Then list jobs that
require a contractor, and are financially feasible, and finally list the
jobs that require a major investment of time and money. Plan to work these
larger jobs into your future budgets.
While your initial outlay for energy-wise improvements and more efficient
appliances will require an initial outlay of money, the cost of operating
your house will decrease, the resale value of your home will likely
increase, and you may also qualify for an energy efficient mortgage. This
mortgage allows lenders to use a debt-to-income ratio that is higher than
normal, to calculate loan potential.
An energy efficient home will not materialize overnight. Making your home
energy efficient is an ongoing project that will change as technology
changes. As your home becomes more efficient you will experience decreased
energy bills and a more comfortable living space.