Evalutate Energy Efficienty of Your Home

Evaluate Energy Efficiency of Your Home

Heartland Power Cooperative would like to provide you with information to make your home more energy efficient.  That is why we have included all the information you need to get started doing your own home energy audit by looking for energy leaks.

The House as a Whole
When evaluating the energy efficiency of a house, it is very important to understand that a house is a system. The building is constructed with components that assemble into a system. The critical areas of construction are: Proper use of insulation, air leakage control, intelligent use of windows, high efficiency heating and cooling, and mechanical ventilation. These five simple ideas can reduce heating costs from $500 to $100 per 1,000 square feet per year.

The most important item in the "house as a whole" is air infiltration control. It is amazing that a typical, newly constructed house has 150 to 180 square inches of holes per 1,500 square feet. In other words, that's an opening 10 x 15 inches to 10 x 18 inches in the house. This air leakage represents about 20 to 30 percent of the heat loss in a single family home. In an older home, leaks can occur around weathering windows and doors, and in areas where modifications such as additions and replacements to the home have been made.

Remember, cracks and little gaps in your home are leaks. These tiny spaces or leaks eat energy. Energy used to heat in the winter and cool in the summer escapes through these cracks and gaps. If these cracks and gaps are not located and sealed, they will continue to eat energy.

The best way to locate these leaks is with a blower door test. If a blower door is not available, simply conduct your energy audit when Mother Nature is blowing against the walls of your home. By walking around your home on a windy day, seeking out leaks with a candle, you'll find leaks that you can seal by simply applying caulk, insulation, weatherstripping, or some other inexpensive weatherization materials.

 

This figure shows how air flows through a house. As warm air rises, it tends to escape through cracks and holes near the top of the house. The escaping air causes a slight suction, which pulls in cold air through the holes near the bottom of the house. These holes throughout the interior of the house need to be sealed to reduce air movement heat loss.

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