5 out of 5HardRequires an experienced energy-audit
Home energy audits are often free through the local utility company
About 2 hours for an average-size home
In this video, This Old House host Kevin O’Connor and a specialist perform a whole-house energy audit.
Steps for Performing a Whole-House Energy Audit:
- Check the energy rating on each appliance and light fixture. Look for Energy Star label or other low-usage ratings. Replace older products that are wasting electricity.
- Inspect the water heater, and make note of any leaks, rust spots or lack of insulation. Also, check the heater’s age and energy efficiency.
- Run a combustion safety test of the steam boiler with a combustion analyzer.
- Use the analyzer to measure the temperature and ratio of gases inside the flue pipe.
- Next, drill a small-diameter hole in the flue pipe, then use the analyzer to measure the air pressure and to ensure that the boiler is drafting (exhausting) properly.
- 6. Hold a smoke stick beside the flue to confirm that gases aren’t leaking back into the basement.
- Install an electric blower door in the front doorway to test for air leaks throughout the house.
- Close all windows and doors in the house. And shut fireplace dampers, then turn on the blower fan.
- Use a smoke stick to check for leaks around doors, windows, fireplaces, vents and chimneys.
- Take a handheld infrared sensor and check for temperature differences on the interior walls and ceilings. A cool spot is evidence of poor insulation or an air leak.
- Use the infrared sensor to check for temperature changes around pull-down attic stairs.
- Climb into the attic and inspect insulation in the attic floor; it should be at least 12 inches deep. Add more insulation, if necessary.
- If the existing insulation is damaged or badly compressed, remove it and install new insulation.
- Seal air-leaking gaps around the chimney with fire-rated flashing and caulking, then insulate around the chimney.
- Seal all penetrations and gaps in the attic floor with expanding polyurethane caulk.
- Make or buy a rigid-foam attic stair cover and install it over the opening for the pull-down staircase.