How to save money on your utility bills
The first step toward saving money on your utility bill is to reduce the amount of energy and water you use. Our preferred method of starting down the path of home efficiency is to have the home inspected and evaluated for energy performance. The most common name for this energy inspection is an energy audit. It is a scientific process that will identify weaknesses in the homes’ efficiencies and offer advice on how to best fix those.
An energy audit looks at 3 things:
How much air is the home leaking. This is done scientifically by performing a blower door test. This is entails strapping a huge fan on the front door, shoring up the entire home (windows, doors, etc), and seeing just how much air they can suck through the home and out the front door even though its all closed up. This test shows where the leaks are so you can then seal the cracks and gaps to better control the temperature in the home. A new home will “leak” its air volume approximately 0.5 times per hour. Older homes can be as high as 12 times per hour, meaning there’s a lot more work for the HVAC system and less comfort due to all the draftiness.
Infrared Imaging. Most building codes did not include requirements for insulation until the 90’s. Infrared images will show the weakest spots in the walls and attic without costly exploration. Common weak points are the few inches around window encasements, open ventilation points, older vaulted ceilings, and the corners of the attic areas.
Combustion Safety. Open pilot lights will soon be a thing of the past. During the energy audit it is the responsibility of the rater to ensure the combustion appliances and mechanics are safe. This is especially important once the amount of air leakage is reduced, as the occupant will now be breathing the same air for longer.
Once the audit is complete you’ll have a great understanding of which improvements are the low-hanging fruit and which require more expertise and investment. The next step is determining goals for any work performed, how to pay for it and which contractor(s) to hire. Easy.