If you are winterizing your home to protect against the headache of frozen pipes and potential water damage, conducting a quick, three-step energy audit now can help prevent nasty surprises when the heating bill arrives.
It’s human instinct to increase the heat during the coldest winter days, however, this comes with increased heating costs that can stretch the household budget. Air leakage contributes significantly to home heating costs. Air escaping from the home’s envelope means the furnace has to work overtime to compensate and maintain a comfortable living temperature. As a result, energy consumption remains high, monthly bills continue to climb and any efficiency achieved through other methods is fruitless. The U.S Department of Energy’s Energy Savers website suggests that floors, walls, ceilings and windows account for 41 percent of air leakage in homes.
A simple energy audit can help you better understand your home’s performance and ensure your heating bills don’t break the bank this winter.
Start by thoroughly cleaning all vents, filters and ducts. Use a vacuum to remove any dust and debris around your furnace’s filters. Then, have a professional clean your ductwork. Cleaning can noticeably improve the performance of your home’s heating system, allowing it to run more efficiently.
Having a home energy auditor complete a “blower door” test will allow you to better understand how air flows through your home. This comprehensive test measures how much air is moving through any cracks around doors, windows and other potential problem areas. A well-sealed home should have no leaks. The energy auditor will also use equipment such as a “smoke pencil” and infrared camera to further assess the home’s overall performance and identify problem areas that need to be addressed.
Finally, have an insulation professional assess your existing insulation’s performance. Gaps, cracks and inconsistency of insulation coverage can significantly impact your home’s energy performance, as well as your monthly heating bills. A licensed insulation professional can make recommendations as to how to address air leakage effectively with a better-performing insulation material. One high-performance, long term solution is spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulation, like that available from Icynene, works well in all climates to fill cracks and gaps, stop air leakage and help reduce the strain on your heating and cooling equipment. This insulation material both insulates and air seals the home helping to noticeably reduce monthly heating and cooling bills.
Additionally, spray foam insulation’s air-sealing qualities allows you to reduce the size of your heating and cooling equipment since less effort is required to heat or cool the home.
While air leakage can cause your heating bills to jump significantly this winter, completing a quick energy audit and having a well-insulated home can help you get through the cold winter months. You can learn more about choosing the right insulation for your home by visiting icynene.com.