Do-it-yourself home energy audits require a little time, ingenuity, and know-how. Part one of this blog listed six, key, energy-efficiency areas that should be checked. But testing your home is just the first step of the process. In order to truly reap the benefits of a home energy audit, it is important that the energy-efficient changes be implemented correctly.

Upgrading your home with energy-efficient solutions is better for the environment and your wallet. According to the US Department of Energy, home audit upgrades can save homeowners between five and thirty percent on their energy bills. Homeowners may also be eligible for state, local, or utility incentives that can help assist with the changes. To get started, consider the suggestions listed below.

Home Energy Audit Upgrades and Repairs

  • Attic. Holes around wires or pipes should be secured and sealed with high-temperature, flexible caulk or spray foam. To insulate an attic hatch, secure foam insulation to the back of the hatch. Also, consider adding weather stripping to the hatch for further security against air leaks.

  • Ductwork. Repair leaky ductwork with duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape. Ducts should also be insulated. If you see that sections of your ductwork lack insulation, Energy Star suggests adding duct insulation material rated at least R-6.

  • Furnace and water heater. If you have an old furnace and water heater, it should be replaced. In the meantime, you can make little changes to make these systems more energy efficient. Air filters should be replaced once every one to three months. This will make the furnace output easier and cost efficient. And to make older water heaters more energy efficient, wrap the water heater in an insulating blanket (R-8 or higher) and wrap the connecting pipes with foam or insulating tape.

  • Windows and doors. For drafty windows or doors, use caulk and weather stripping to eliminate air leaks. There are different types of weather stripping materials to be considered, including felt, foam tape, reinforced vinyl, and spring tension seals. Also, consider adding a door sweep for eliminating gaps underneath the door.

  • Fireplace. For a less-than-functional fireplace damper, it’s best to call a professional. The expert will be able to offer suggestions about the damper as well as check for any other energy inefficiency issues with your fireplace. For more information, check to see if there is a Best Pick chimney expert in your area.

  • Switches and outlets. To insulate switches and outlets, remove the plate, fit foam gaskets into the area, and then secure the plate on top. Consider using the child safety plugs on your outlets as well. These devices reduce the air leaks that go through the outlet holes.

These home energy audit changes are just the beginning to improving the energy efficiency of your home. For more energy-efficiency changes, consider hiring a professional home energy auditor. These experts can perform a more thorough home energy assessment, both inside and outside the home. Professional auditors use specialty equipment like smoke-generating devices, draft gauges, and moisture meters to make sure your home is energy efficient. They use infrared cameras to find leaks (thermographic inspections), and they also perform a blower door test, which uses a special fan to depressurize a house and locate air leaks. If you’re looking for a professional home energy auditor, consider a Best Pick contractor.

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Sources: Energy Star; The Washington Post; This Old House; US Department of Energy.

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