Here’s How To Do a Quick Energy Audit of Your Home
Apr 25, 2021
Maybe it’s living through a global pandemic or the fact that we’ve actually begun to see and experience the very real effects of climate change but this year’s Earth Day had us thinking of more tangible ways we can make changes. (Caveat: Yes, the big corporations should be shouldering more of the burden than they currently do)
But aside from trying to be kinder to the environment, it never hurts to save some money — which is why we want to briefly highlight the practice of energy audits (also sometimes called energy assessments). This is the practice of inspecting a home to spot any potential problems or hazards and look at ways to maximize personal energy usage to save money and give the planet a bit of a break.
The best part about energy audits is that they can be as intensive as you want them to be. We’ll share a few:
Option #1: Get a pro to do and energy audit
There’s no doubt about it — getting a professional energy audit is going to give you a more thorough picture of your home’s issues and needs than going the DIY route. If you have genuine concerns about your utility bills or the comfort of your home, it might be worth investing in hiring an energy auditor to come take a look at your place.
According to Home Advisor, it costs anywhere between 8 cents and 50 cents a square foot to have a pro look over your home’s energy usage and it varies by region. Using our Red Hook zip code, we received an estimate of about $800. Not exactly cheap, but potentially worth it in the long run if you feel you may be having significant issues with your energy usage — or if you’re planning to sell your home and suspect something might come up on the home inspection.
As always, it’s best to connect with other professionals you trust to get recommendations or to reach out to friends or family who’ve had a good experience. NYC also has particularly robust neighborhood Facebook groups and sometimes NextDoor groups where you might be able to get nearby options.
The DIY energy audit option
If you’re just looking to shore up some minor energy usage issues or have a DIY mindset and enjoy home improvement projects, you might do just fine going it on your own. The good news is that both local governments and national resources (like the Department of Energy) offer lots of tips. Let’s look at a few options:
- Wanna start by figuring out if your usage is on par with your neighbors’? Here’s a handy chart detailing pricing on a variety of energy sources — plus the direct contact info for a person who can help you with pricing inquiries.
- Landlords and renters can find common ground in saving money. Here’s a collection of tips for apartment dwellers (and those who rent to them).
- NYS info about solar options, incentive, and financing options
Once you’ve looked at some options and tips, the fun stuff starts — seeing where you can save money. The Department of Energy has a good overview of everything you should consider for your own DIY energy audit.
If you’d like an even more step-by-step guide, the guys from This Old House have put together
A no-nonsense guide that not only takes you through some common energy zappers in your home but offers up easy tips for fixing simple problems.