Eco-Assessment: How To Test Your Home’s Efficiency

A home energy audit performed by a professional is one of the best ways to assess your home’s efficiency. However, it is still possible for you to get an idea of the issues by performing your own walk through.

Use your energy audit to make a list of problems that you find. This can help you to prioritize future upgrades.

Here are some of the common problems that you should look for when assessing your home’s energy efficiency:


You can lower your energy costs by as much as 30 percent if you find and fix drafts in your home. Fixing drafts will also make your home more comfortable. Areas where drafts are common include points where walls meet the ceiling, along baseboards and at the edges of flooring. Check for air leaks on the exterior of your home as well. Pay special attention to those areas where two different building materials come together. Seal any holes you find by plugging or caulking them.

Inadequate Insulation

Insufficiently insulated walls can be a major cause of energy loss. If your home is older, it is possible that the recommended amount of insulation at the time of its construction is inadequate by today’s standards.

Check your home’s insulation by looking at your attic hatch and then by inspecting the openings for pipes, ductwork and chimneys in the attic. If your attic hatch is located over conditioned space, make sure that it has insulation just like the rest of the attic. Also, ensure that openings for pipes, ductwork and chimneys are sealed.

While in the attic, you should inspect the vapor barrier underneath the insulation. If you do not find one, it is a good idea to coat ceilings inside your home with a vapor diffusion retarder to limit the diffusion of water vapor through your ceiling.

Water Waste

Water, as one of our most valuable natural resources, should be used wisely and conserved as much as possible. If your home has leaks, even small ones, this can add up to wasted water. A New Jersey plumbing specialist recommends having your plumbing checked regularly to ensure no leaks or other problems are present.

Inefficient Heating and Cooling Appliances

You should examine your HVAC equipment at least once a year. As a part of this inspection, it is a good idea to inspect your filters and replace them as necessary. Along with your own yearly inspection, you should have your equipment inspected and cleaned by an HVAC professional as well. If your equipment is over 15 years old, note that replacing it will save you a considerable amount of money.

Newer units are far more efficient and consume much less energy. Look for signs of air leaks in your ductwork such as dirt streaks, especially in the area of the seams.

After your audit, it is a good idea to hire a professional to make sure that you caught all of the problems. While performing your own energy audit may help you to identify some of the problems, your audit may not be as thorough as one performed by a professional.

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