Glacial Energy Blog

Do It Yourself: Home Energy Use Assessment

Whether clipping coupons or shopping the best deals online, smart shoppers understand the value of saving a buck. As a thrifty consumer, have you considered other ways to save money in your household? Your electric bill can be a source of savings, if you know what to look for and how to make small changes at home.

1. Locate Air Leaks
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air leaks can minimize home energy efficiency by 5 to 30% a year. Checking for leaks is important, especially as your home ages. Checking for leaks is easy.
• Look at places where two different building materials meet, such as corners, around chimneys, where pipes or wires exit and along the foundation. Any gaps or holes should be plugged and/or caulked.
• Use incense to carefully test for leaks by moving a lit stick along walls (avoiding drapes and other flammables); where the smoke wavers, you have air sneaking in or out.
• Make sure the floor of your attic and ceiling of your basement, as well as exterior walls, have adequate insulation.

2. Analyze Your Appliances
Appliances are major energy users, so your task should be to identify models that may be costing you a lot, and to find ways to trim waste. One of the easiest ways to save is by upgrading to a new Energy Star certified, high-efficiency model. Heating and cooling usually account for the biggest home energy usage. To save money, make sure vents are open in rooms you want conditioned, but close the ones in rooms you hardly use. Also be sure that vents are clean and unobstructed. To further reduce energy usage, check to see if your furnace filters look dirty and change them at suggested by your heating/cooling equipment specifications.

3. Look for Hidden Energy Users
When electronics, like TVs, DVD players and cell phone chargers, are plugged in but not on, they still draw power, resulting in about 8% of our annual electric bills. It’s simple to stop the drain by looking around your house, and unplugging any unused devices you find. To make it even easier, plug your electronics into a power strip, and switch that off when you are finished watching your favorite TV marathon or charging your mobile devices.

4. See the Light
Lighting eats up about 10% of a typical electric bill. Swap out high-wattage bulbs with lower users, ideally CFLs. Start with one or two bulbs in the places where you have lights on the longest; you don’t need to rush out and try to replace every bulb all at once. Also be aware that rapid on and off switching decreases the life of CFLs, so it may not be worth it to install the pricier bulbs in places like closets, where you rarely have the lights on. In such areas, try a lower-wattage regular bulb, like a 40 W instead of a 60 W.

After you have made some improvements, revisit your audit steps in a month or two. Go over your energy bills, and compare. Did your usage drop? Consider going back through the steps above, looking for any appliances or areas you missed before.

About Glacial Energy- Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business or cost saving opportunities for your home. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting www.GlacialEnergy.com

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