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Home energy use audit – some questions to ask

August 27, 2012

Did you know that of all homes constructed prior to 1980, just 20% are well insulated? To bring down your energy costs, it becomes crucial to seal doors and windows, add insulation, and take other necessary steps. With the energy scenario in Texas becoming a talking point among administrators and homemakers alike, and the imminent possibilities of power outage and grid failure due to excessive power consumption, it becomes more important that Texas residents do their bit to conserve electricity.

Home energy usage audit

Since it may seem like a daunting task to pin-point areas where your power consumption is more, or locate instances where you can cut down on your consumption, doing a home energy use audit can come to your rescue.

General Home Information

You can begin by asking yourself some general questions, which may include:

  • When was your home constructed?
  • Your home belongs to which category – Apartment/Condo, or Single Family?
  • On each side of your home, how many windows are there?
  • Do your home has broken or cracked windows/doors?
  • How many outside doors does your home have?
  • Are your doors insulated?
  • Do your doors and windows leak air, or do they seal tightly?
  • Do you have ceiling and wall insulation in your home?

Answering these questions will help you target the problem areas, which if repaired, can help you reduce your electricity bills.

Heating/Cooling Systems

Almost 43% of your utility bills are attributed to running heating and cooling systems. With simple steps like setting your thermostat at 78° F or higher in the summer and 68° F or lower in the winter can help you save precious dollars on your utility bills. Here are some questions to ask during your home energy audit to find out how much of energy your heating/cooling systems are consuming:

  • What type of heating and cooling system do you use?
  • What fuel does your heating/cooling system use? (you can pick your answer from oil, electricity, natural gas, and propane)
  • What’s the age of your heating system?
  • Do you use a programmable thermostat to control the temperature?
  • During the heating or cooling season, what are your thermostat settings?
  • During summer, do you use fans in place of air conditioning?

Water Heating

In your home, the third largest energy expense is attributed to water heating. You can cut down water heating bills with some simple steps like insulating your water heater, using less hot water, keeping the water heater’s thermostat down, or by purchasing a more efficient model.

Some questions related to water heating systems, which you should answer during your home energy use audit include:

  • What type of fuel is used to heat water in your home?
  • What’s the age of your water heater?
  • What’s the temperature at which your water heater is set?
  • Are the pipes and your water heater insulated?

Clothes washers, refrigerators, and clothes dryers are some other appliances that consume a lot of energy. So, you should try to buy appliances with ENERGY STAR labels as they are more efficient than other products.

So, use the above questionnaire to perform an effective home energy use audit, which would help you get started on steps for cutting down your electricity bills.

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