Dennis DeGrazia: All About Home Energy Audits
For years, Dennis DeGrazia has worked in the field of energy efficiency; as both a contractor and a Director of Operations for a major public initiative, he has helped home and property owners boost their energy awareness. As such, it is no great exaggeration to say that he is passionate about energy conservation. At the same time, we can say that Dennis DeGrazia is zealous about energy audits—because for most property owners, increased energy efficiency begins with a thorough home energy audit.
For some individuals and families, though, the very concept of a home energy audit might prove foreign. What is it, how is it done, and what are the benefits that homeowners receive? Below, Dennis DeGrazia offers a few answers to these questions—as well as some advice as to your next step toward greater energy efficiency.
What is an energy audit?
We will begin with the basic definition of a home energy audit. An energy audit exists for one primary reason—to isolate areas of energy waste within your home, thereby showing you some improvements you can make to better conserve and more efficiently use your home energy resources. A home energy audit will likely involve an inspection of many seemingly disparate areas of your home—from attic insulation to your hot water heater, from your doors and windows to your appliances. In the end, it will provide you with some actionable steps you might take toward improving your home energy efficiency.
What are the benefits of a home energy audit?
Now we have seen what an energy audit is, most basically, but one question remains—exactly what are the benefits of a home energy audit? In other words, why would someone spend money on something like this? There are actually many reasons why people get home energy audits:
- A home energy audit helps reduce your carbon footprint, meaning it is essential for anyone serious about “going green.”
- A home energy audit will help you to lower your monthly energy costs—often by very substantial amounts.
- A home energy audit can maximize your comfort levels, providing you with an even temperature throughout your house.
- Finally, a home energy audit can actually prove good for your health, as it can help you ensure that the air quality in your house is superior.
All four of these are serious reasons to consider a home energy audit. For more homeowners, though, it boils down to this: A home energy audit will help you use less energy, and thereby slash your utility costs.
Should you contact a professional energy auditor?
The next question you might ask is whether you should have a professional energy audit done, or simply do it yourself. There are pros and cons, of course, and while a professional energy audit will prove a bit more expensive, it will also prove more thorough—and it will probably more than pay for itself in the long run. A professional energy auditor will use specialized equipment and provide you with an intricate report of home improvement projects you might engage in to lower your energy waste levels.
How do you find good energy auditor?
According to Dennis DeGrazia, it is imperative to locate a qualified and competent home energy auditor. Often local or state government agencies will provide recommendations for energy auditors or weatherization companies. Sometimes, local electrical and gas providers also offer energy audits to their clients.
How should you prepare for a professional energy audit?
If you do choose to have a professional energy audit conducted, there are some steps you can take to ensure that the process is as smooth and effective as possible. One thing you can do is to simply compile a list of any energy inefficiencies or problems you have noticed. Even more important is gathering a few months’ worth of all of your energy bills, allowing your home energy auditor to peruse them and use them to guide the inspection. Finally, you can prepare yourself to answer a few very basic questions—like, what is the typical thermostat setting in your home, during which hours is the house usually vacant, and so forth.
From there, your home energy auditor should prove ready and eager to take charge of things. There is still one more question to address, however: What if you want to conduct the home energy audit on your own?
Dennis DeGrazia: DIY Energy Audits
Though the benefits of a professional home energy audit are myriad, there is certainly nothing to discourage you from doing the energy audit on your own. A DIY home energy audit can prove effective, assuming you know what to look for. Below are some specific areas to look out for.
- Energy leaks. By finding and sealing up all of your energy leaks, you can reduce your monthly energy bills by anywhere from five to 30 percent! Check for air leaks around baseboards and electrical plates; also check for missing sealant around doors and windows.
- Insulation. If your home is not properly insulated, you are ultimately wasting a lot of money on energy expenses. Checking your attic and assessing the insulation level is fairly easy to do. Checking the insulation behind your walls is a bit tougher, and probably best left to the pros!
- Heating and air filters. These need replacement on a fairly routine basis—and simply making yourself buckle down, mark down calendar dates, and change them when they need changing can go a long way.
- Lights. Last but not least, remember that lighting accounts for—on average—10 percent or so of a home’s utility costs. Are your light bulbs all compact fluorescents? If not, then you are missing out on some great opportunities for energy savings. Make it a part of your home energy audit to check all the bulbs, and replace as many of them as you can.
Getting Serious About Home Energy Use
A home energy audit is not a simple or effortless thing, whether you call in a pro or you do it yourself. Dennis DeGrazia will surely attest that it is worth the effort, however, and that the benefits of a home energy audit are myriad. Cut your energy costs and do the environment a favor, Dennis DeGrazia urges, by doing a home energy audit soon!
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