Air quality and pollution are a real problem in our modern age. From cars to cell phones to your own home, more and more of the things we rely on are heavily dependent on consuming energy. But as energy costs rise internationally, American homeowners are finding creative ways to reduce their utility bills while also, as a side effect, going green. One example of this growing trend is the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) home energy evaluation. Before calling on the expertise of professionals, some homeowners are taking a closer look at their house and making improvements that are benefitting not only them but also our shared environment.
What to Look For:
While some aspects of a home energy evaluation might require a professional, there are a number of basic things that any homeowner is capable of identifying and, potentially, fixing. The first is identifying drafts and air leaks. Drafts can be found in areas that have been insufficiently sealed. In these areas, air can move freely from your climate-controlled home to the exterior. The result is wasted energy and money, as the air you pay to control escapes into the wild. Check for loose baseboards and cracks in your walls. Also check outside of your home for areas where two different building materials meet. These can be common areas for energy loss.
Another common problem that homeowners can identify is the proper insulation of their home. If your attic or basement exists outside of your temperature-controlled living spaces, check to ensure that these areas are properly sealed off from the rest of the house. This will reduce any potential risk of energy loss through these spaces.
Once you’ve identified drafty areas or unclean air vents, there are a few, easy improvements you can make to dramatically increase your home’s energy efficiency. With caulking and weather strips, you can help reduce unwanted airflow by sealing leaks. And by cleaning vents and filters, you will help air move easily throughout your home, meaning your HVAC systems will not have to work as hard to distribute air.
With these home improvements taken care of, there are also a number of hardware upgrades you can make to increase your home’s energy efficiency. As you inspect your home during your DIY home energy evaluation, be sure to note the age of your appliances and what types of light bulbs you’re using. Many older appliances are energy inefficient while their newer counterparts are specifically designed to reduce energy consumption. The same is true for light bulbs. Traditional incandescents are extremely inefficient when compared to compact fluorescents or LED’s. Consider swapping out some of your hardware for newer, more energy efficient models to help reduce your utility bills while also saving the environment.
Going green doesn’t require a massive change in your lifestyle. By performing a simple, DIY home energy evaluation and making a few improvements to your home, you can help reduce energy consumption while also shrinking your utility bill. Help tackle air pollution by performing your own DIY home energy evaluation and making a few of these simple improvements.