How to Conduct a DIY Energy Audit
As a renter, you may feel that there are limited opportunities for energy savings. After all, you can’t make significant changes in most apartments. But there are a few things you can do to make your home more efficient. The first step is to perform an energy audit.
An energy audit assesses how efficient your home is. It can point out areas of your apartment that are wasting energy and help you evaluate areas that you can easily improve. While hiring a professional can give you the most accurate results, these audits can cost more than $300. Instead try a do-it-yourself audit. It’s perfect for a rented dwelling.
Locate Air Leaks
Small gaps around windows, doors and trim cause your expensive air conditioning to leak out of your apartment. Stop paying for wasted air by sealing off any air leaks. Walk around your apartment and look for any obvious gaps or cracks and seal them with caulk.
A tube of caulk is only a couple of dollars and stopping these leaks could reduce your energy costs by 5 to 30 percent every year. If you’re not comfortable making these changes yourself, call your landlord or the maintenance crew at your apartment and ask if it can be remedied.
Seek Out Hard-to-Find Energy Wasters
Not every air leak will be obvious. To find these elusive energy wasters, you’ll need to perform a pressurization test. Just follow these steps:
- Shut all window and doors. If you have a fireplace, close the flue as well.
- Turn on all exhaust fans in your apartment, including bathroom, stove and dryer vents. This will help suck the air out of your home and make leaks easier to find.
- Light an incense stick and walk around your apartment. Slowly wave the incense stick around common leak sites, such as electrical outlets, baseboards or your fireplace. If the smoke wavers or is blown out of the room at any of these places then you have an air leak.
- Seal any problem areas with caulk.
Examine Your Light Bulbs
If your apartment has incandescent light bulbs, you should consider replacing them. There are more efficient lighting options on the market that can save you money on your energy bill. LED light bulbs, for example, use 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb and last 25 times longer.
Although these bulbs can be a bit more expensive, you won’t have to change them out for a very long time and you’ll save on energy costs each month. If you’re not willing to spend the extra cash, ask your landlord if he or she would consider changing the bulbs out for you.
Founded in 2003, SaveOnEnergy.com offers energy consumers an innovative approach to online comparison shopping for electricity and natural gas plans. Operating in 14 states and the District of Columbia, SaveOnEnergy connects its customers to reputable energy providers across the competitive marketplace.