Identifying the Weaknesses of Your Home and How to Improve Them
No matter how old or new your home may be, there’s always room for improvement. A slight adjust to a bedroom here, new wallpaper in your bathroom there, and on and on it goes. While you can do some research on the internet and identify the weaknesses of your home without any third-party assistance, hiring an energy auditor is usually a great way to secure a holistic understanding of your home’s true condition.
Get Your Energy Audit Report
Also known as the home energy assessment, getting a home energy audit involves hiring a professional to inspect and identify potential vulnerabilities around the house. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of an energy audit can range from $300 to $500, but the investment is totally worthwhile especially when you consider the amount of money you can save for patching up those leaky points.
For a comprehensive assessment, “the energy auditor will do a room-by-room examination of the residence, as well as a thorough examination of past utility bills,” says Energy.gov. Oftentimes, the assessment will include a blower door test and a thermograph scan to catch hard-to-spot leaks. Typically, homeowners who followed through with the recommendations on the energy audit report will experience anywhere from 5% to as much as 30% on energy savings.
Basic DIY Repair
Loosely sealed doors and windows are common culprits in any home. Even if you don’t hire an energy auditor, you can start probing the areas yourself. To check for drafts, DIY Network recommends homeowners to hold a lit candle near the seams of a closed window on a breezy day. If the flame blends, it’s a good sign that there is air leaking in and out of the house.
Because leaky doors and windows can cost an average home to lose up to 30% of its heating and cooling energy, it’s best to fix the problem right away. According to HouseLogic, “caulking and adding new weatherstripping goes a long way toward tightening” up the old windows. As for sealing up your doors, foam-type tape with an adhesive backing is inexpensive and easy to install. However, homeowners with the budget and skills to tackle the job professionally should consider tubular rubber, vinyl, and silicone weatherstripping for best results.
Caulking and sealing up your windows may be a great fix if your windows are relatively new. However, if your window edges are rotting, chipping away, or simply coming off, then it’s probably time to replace them with energy efficient windows. Usually come in double-panels with low e-coating glass, energy efficient windows can effectively reflect incoming solar radiation to keep the house cool in summer, while trapping warm air in the house during winter for extra comfort.
As for the windows that are working properly, adding dressing around your windows will not only make them visually appealing, but also improve their efficiency. The Department of Energy reports window awnings can “reduce solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows.” In the meantime, eco-friendly drapes (like those made from organic cotton and hemp) are famous for supporting a sustainable agriculture. Thermal drapes have also been reported to cut back your heat loss by 25%, which is 20% more than conventional drapes.
Making your home energy efficient is an ongoing process with plenty of learning curves. The good news is that each change you make will take you closer to your goal. Once you’ve sealed up your home and invested in smart window solutions, you could expand your upgrade to your roof, fixtures, and other areas of the house to slowly bring your home to the “green” level you’ve always hoped for.