This winter has seem like it is never ending and it has been hard on everyone and let’s be honest, hard on the budget as well. Many of us have seen increases in our energy usage, which has in turn caused increases in our Electric Bill and other heating costs. I recently was able to take part in a Home Energy Audit through PPL Electric and this audit pointed out some easy ways to lower my energy consumption and gave me some easy, money saving tips. Stan Kuhn from Energy Auditors came to my home and did a top to bottom, basement to attic assessment of my energy consumption. He was very though, very professional and took the time to explain everything that he was testing as he was doing it.
A Home Energy Audit from PPL Electric Utilities includes an examination of how much air is leaking in and out of your home, the condition of your heating and cooling system and an assessment of the air quality including carbon monoxide and moisture conditions.
When Stan came to my house, he set up a blower door test to measure the air leakage, and mine measured at 3,660 CFM at 50 Pascals of pressure; the ideal rate for your home is about 1,480 CFM at 50 Pascals. So obviously I have lots of room for improvement. Since my house is over 100 years old however (vs new construction) he said that my measurements were typical for a home of this age.
Stan went from top to bottom in my house, using an infrared scanner to see where I was experiencing heat loss in my home. By using the scanner he could pinpoint exactly where the loss was occurring. He simply pointed the scanner at my walls and you could see where the cold air was. In the picture you can see where the dark blue/black areas are and that is where the cold air is.
One of the main culprits for our air leakage was our very large, wood burning fireplace in our living room. We are lucky that our fireplace has heavy metal doors on them but our auditor Stan recommended that I apply weatherstripping to the doors to make a better seal when the doors are closed. Easy fix right? And I love that his recommendation doesn’t mean that I have to call an expert, it is something that I can do myself and doesn’t cost a lot of time/money to do.
Another air of concern on the first floor was there are several windows where there is air leakage at the trim joints and edges. Stan’s recommendation for fixing that was to use caulk to fill in the gaps–again, something that I can do myself and at minimal cost.
However, it wasn’t all easy fixes and low cost solutions. Stan did find that there is no insulation in the walls above all second-floor windows. Unfortunately, that is a more expensive fix, in that I will need to at some point have some insulation blown into that area.
He also recommended that we have our windows on our first floor replaced with double paned windows, instead of the single pane windows we currently have (and that are original to the house!).
There were a few other minor issues but overall I was very pleased with the findings. Some of the easier things he recommended have already been done and we have plans to do some of the bigger items in the next few years.
Finally, as part of every money saving energy audit, you get up to $120 free energy saving items like CFL bulbs, smart power strips, faucet aerators, night lights and more. Stan recommended some items to me and then actually installed them for me. One of the things he did for me was to hook up power strips to my kids gaming systems so that there was no phantom power use when the games were turned off. We also put night lights in the hallways upstairs and in my younger kids bedrooms so I don’t have to leave the hall light on at night.
Would you like your own Home Energy Audit? A Home Energy Audit costs approximately $650 to have done but there are instant rebates available depending on your heating types so that significantly cuts down on your cost. Also, since it recommends ways for your to reduce your energy consumption you will start saving money on your energy bill so in time the audit will pay for itself. To sign up for a Home Energy Audit go to the PPL Electric Utilities page by clicking here.
In addition, readers who visit the Project Envolve webpage and subscribe to the mailing list will be entered to win a $50 Home Energy Survey! A Home Energy Survey includes a walk through evaluation by a certified surveyor and some energy efficient goodies, but isn’t as comprehensive as the full diagnostic audit. Three subscribers will be chosen to win the Home Energy Survey! Click here to sign up and enter to win! You must be customers of PPL Electric to win. Giveaway will end at 4 p.m. on April 7th and winners will be notified the next day.
Looking for some great activities and worksheets to do with your kids to get them excited about reduce your Energy Consumption? Click here to print out these cute Project Envolve worksheets made just for kids!
*Italicized items are directly from my Energy Audit*
I am a Project Envolve Ambassador through PPL Electric Utilities and received the Energy Audit as part of that, as always my opinions are 100% my own.