By Greg, Pacific Aire Comfort Advisor
When the weather switches gears, it signals a good time to switch gears from impassively paying energy bills as they arrive to actively trying to find ways to reduce them. The best way? Conduct a do-it-yourself energy evaluation and consider it a Saturday well spent.
By following a “road map,” of sorts, recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), you’re virtually guaranteed to find at least several air leaks in your home. Sealing them can save you up to 30 percent on your energy bill, according to the DOE. That’s a striking return on an investment that largely comes down to time.
Make the most of your time by taking notes as you move around your home, either with a laptop or paper and pen. Record vulnerable spots, perhaps by posting sticky notes to remind you to apply caulk or weatherstripping later.
Reduce the airflow in your home by shutting windows, doors and the fireplace flue. Turn off your gas-burning furnace and water heater. Then run your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans or, alternatively, use a large fan to pull air out of your home.
With this still factor, you’re bound to know a leak when you feel one. To confirm your hunches, take along a long-stemmed lighter, hold it up against the following spots and watch for a flickering flame:
- Around baseboards
- At the juncture where walls meet ceilings
- Windows and storm windows – also paying attention to whether they rattle, which could be a sign that they are leaking air
- Doors, where the same rule applies
- Wall or window-mounted air conditioners
- Electrical outlets
- Switch plates
- Fireplace damper
- Attic hatch
Evaluate the exterior of your home by carefully inspecting areas where different building materials converge, as these are prime spots for leaks to occur -- especially where siding or cedar meet the chimney.
When you're finished, remember that your energy evaluation will probably reveal the need for some improvements -- all of which the experts at Pacific Aire Heating & Cooling are ready to assist you with to make your home more energy efficient. Call us today and join the ranks of our growing family of homeowners in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.