You can find home energy audits for free, but not always. And they’re a great way to save on your energy costs.
While you may not have the skills of an experienced HVAC contractor, that doesn’t mean you can’t do your own audit and find many savings opportunities.
Here’s a very simple one you can use as a starting point:
1. Check Your Furnace’s AFUE Rating
This one’s easy. Your furnace has a big yellow sticker with a number on it. That number marks its efficiency.
If you have a furnace with an 88 AFUE, that means it’s 88% efficient.
The most efficient furnaces have a 97-98 efficiency, but you pay a lot more for them. You get the best efficiency for your dollar with furnaces that have an AFUE of 92 – 95.
2. Check Your AC’s SEER Rating
This one clearly makes a little more sense to understand here in Texas. And unfortunately, it’s harder to understand SEER.
The higher the number, the greater the efficiency. Regulation requires all AC systems to have at least a 13 SEER.
To gauge your efficiency, simply compare your current SEER to a new AC’s SEER. If yours has a SEER of 16, one with 19 would have 18.75% more efficiency (19-16 = 3. Then divide 3 by 16.)
3. Finding Drafts
This one could easily end up being your biggest energy savings win.
To find drafts, wait for a windy day. Then close all your windows. Turn off your gas furnace and water heater.
Close your fireplace flue if you have one.
Either wet your hand or light your incense stick. Shoot a video with your smartphone and make notation of where you experience all the various drafts.
You can check yours in your attic by looking at the insulation levels relative to your joists. Insulation should be piled as high as the tops of your joists.
It slowly settles over time, so this can change over the years. And if you notice anywhere in your home feels unusually hot or cold, that can be a sign of poor insulation also.
That’s not a complete home energy audit. But it’s enough to help you check the major areas and score some nice savings on your own.