Saturday, November 22, 2008

Green Your Home - The Audit (Part 1)

A couple of weeks ago, I shared some tips to prepare your home and property for the winter. As I worked through some of those steps on my own home, I realized doing a “green inspection” on my home would help identify keys areas to help me go green. So, I set to work making a list of items that affect the energy efficiency of my home, without completely rebuilding or breaking the bank.

This is the first article in a series. Over the next few posts, I will share with you my own experience of inspecting, planning and completing steps to make my home more energy, resource and water efficient. I will also share the cost of doing the work yourself, purchasing the products at Home Depot, not through construction industry contacts. The Home Depot has been very beneficial in my research, as shown in other posts.

To the list, and steps taken to make that list.

1. Front Door Insulation – While my front door could be better, that is an expense I am not prepared for today. However, standing back and looking around the door, I realized I could see small areas of light where the weather-strip was damaged, missing or cut short.
2. Outlets and Switches – I have about 40 switches and outlets on the exterior walls of my home. On cold nights, these electrical outlets are perceptible colder then the rest of the wall and allow energy loss.
3. Windows – While most of my windows are sealed fairly well, there are areas around several windows where the caulking has cracked and needs to be replaced.
4. HVAC Ducts & Openings – In both the floors and ceilings, the duct boots are not sealed to the plywood or the drywall. Upon further inspection, some ductwork is need of re-sealing in the attic and crawlspace.
5. Attic Access – There is no weather-stripping or other seals in place to reduce air-leakage at the access.
6. Filters – My filters are in much need of replacement.
7. Toilets & Faucets – All toilet tanks are filling above the fill line and utilizing more water then needed. Faucets and showerheads are standard fixtures.
8. Exhaust Fans – Fans are installed, but not working properly or drawing enough air to properly ventilate bathrooms following a shower.

For informational purposes, several energy saving items have already been built into my home or replaced previous to this audit. Most of the incandescent lights have already been replaced. Programmable thermostats are also in use to save energy in heating and cooling. Where applicable, ENERGY STAR appliances are also installed in the home.

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