As the record-breaking winter weather clears in most areas of the country, many families are experiencing higher-than-usual energy usage. This additional energy consumption not only leads to expensive energy bills, but can be damaging to the overall environment. Consider conducting an energy audit of your home to save on future bills. Many energy providers offer audits to their customers at no charge, but if yours doesn't, consider spending an afternoon conducting your own home energy audit.
Seal any air leaks
On a chilly or windy day, check every closed window and door in your home to see if you feel air drafts coming through the openings. If you find drafty windows or doors, seal them properly to prevent air from seeping through.
Venture upstairs to your attic and evaluate the insulation there. If there is proper insulation, check to be sure the insulation is still in its intended place and has not fallen or been misplaced. Look closely for wet spots, decay or signs of animals. If there are leaks in the roof, have them fixed by a professional or repair them on your own.
Service heating and cooling equipment
Maintain your furnace and air-conditioner by having them checked by a professional every one to two years. If your current equipment results in large energy bills, consider replacing your units with more energy-efficient, cost-effective units.
Replace light bulbs
Standard light bulbs can result in high energy bills. As your light bulbs burn out, replace them with more energy efficient bulbs for increased savings.
Check appliances and electronics
Check your appliances for energy efficiency. If you have a deep freezer that is almost empty, use the contents and unplug it until you have more food items to store. Unplug televisions and computers at night to lower the use of "phantom energy" (the energy used when items are plugged into the wall, but not turned on). Unplug cell phone chargers when they are not in use.
Keep track of your energy bills
Check your energy bill each month and make note of any major increases in usage. If possible, determine what caused the increase in usage and make changes. Did you run a dehumidifier, operate a window air-conditioning unit, etc.?
Keep track of your energy improvements
As you go through your audit, note any changes you want to make. Write down the date you made any changes, and then re-evaluate those changes when you receive your upcoming energy bills. If you want to use a pre-printed form, TheDailyGreen.com provides a printable checklist to keep track of your independent audit and the resulting changes.
Taking time out of your schedule for an independent energy audit is time well-spent. Small, incremental changes can often result in substantial savings in energy usage and a lower energy bill.
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado