The heatwave sweeping the United States this July has got a lot of us thinking about energy and how we can make sure we’re not being wasteful.
Like many of you, my home is super cold in the basement and uncomfortably hot upstairs – even with my air conditioner pumping all the time.
This heat got me thinking about our energy consumption and if there was something I could do to make my house feel cooler all around (and maybe a little less cool in the basement).
I turned to Google and found a local company that conducts energy audits – much of the assessment fees are covered by rebates from my local energy company too. Score!
What the auditor found wasn’t horrible, but I did learn the root cause of why my basement was freezing, my upstairs was hot and why my air conditioner was constantly churning.
He found that my air conditioning was taking hot air from outside, cooling it and then spreading it through my house where it would then seep out through my attic and other crevices that weren’t properly insulted. This might sound okay, but it isn’t. Rather than constantly introduce 90 degree outside air into my house, what the air conditioner should be doing is circulating and re-circulating the cool air from inside. Apparently this process is very common and easily fixable.
The audit also revealed various places were HVAC duct sealing, additional insulation and weatherproofing were inadequate, helping me understand the exact spots where cool air was escaping my home (mainly through the upstairs attic). It also explains why it’s 15 degrees hotter upstairs just below the attic!
Overall the energy audit was eye-opening. It made me realize my property was wasting energy – lots of it – and all for not. Everything was easily fixable.
For less than $2,000 (and I got more than $500 back in rebates from my energy company), I was able to fix all our energy hot spots. The house is starting to feel better and we’re realizing cost savings each month as our energy bills go down and our comfort levels go up.
With hotter summers ahead (global warming anyone?), I highly recommend you consider conducting energy audits on your personal residences and corporate rental properties. Over time you will save money, and you and your tenants will be more comfortable all around.
To find an auditor near you, conduct a simple search in your city for “energy audits”. Many energy companies, like Xcel Energy where I live (Denver), offer rebates for the audit and when you address the issues in your house too.
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