Anytime is a good time to check out your domicile for energy consumption. Much of this can be simpler than people let on. Yes, there are differences between renters and homeowners. I think that everyone should do it EVEN if you do not pay your own bills. Maybe especially if you do not pay your bills. Somebody does. The point is that ALL energy is valuable if you are concerned about the health of the planet. Americans are energy hogs that need to go on a diet. There are websites that will help you do an audit. Your utility will probably do an audit for a small fee. There is even software out there that will do the audit and keep track of your energy use afterwards so you can see the effects of you energy saving efforts. I will cover all of that.
The first step is getting vary familiar with you energy environment and this is as simple as a piece of paper and a slender candle. Step one is to make a complete list of the energy using devices. This includes your furnace, your air conditioner, your major appliance, and even some minor appliances. On that paper write down the age of each appliance, the condition of each appliance and your guess as to how much of your energy load that device consumes. Please check the furnace and the air conditioning filters, especially if you just moved in. They need to be clean and that could be your first job.
Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audit
You can easily conduct a home energy audit yourself. With a simple but diligent walk-through, you can spot many problems in any type of house.
When auditing your home, keep a checklist of areas you have inspected and problems you found. This list will help you prioritize your energy efficiency upgrades.
The following text comes from “A Consumer’s Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy,” which is at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website.
Heating & Cooling Equipment
Inspect heating and cooling equipment annually, or as recommended by the manufacturer. If you have a forced-air furnace, check your filters and replace them as needed. Generally, you should change them about once every month or two, especially during periods of high usage. Have a professional check and clean your equipment once a year.
Replace Old Equipment
If the unit is more than 15 years old, you should consider replacing your system with one of the newer, energy-efficient units. A new unit would greatly reduce your energy consumption, especially if the existing equipment is in poor condition. Check your ductwork for dirt streaks, especially near seams. These indicate air leaks, and they should be sealed with a duct mastic. Insulate any ducts or pipes that travel through unheated spaces. An insulation R-value of 6 is the recommended minimum.
There are many places on the web that can help you with this.
Here is a tip that they won’t tell you. Call your HVAC and Appliance Dealer and ask them questions. If you don’t have an HVAC person and a local appliance dealer that you can trust, find one. You need to know this stuff in case of an emergency. If you are a renter ask your landlord who they use and let them know you are interested in saving energy. They should appreciate that. Once you determine who they are (ask for friends recommendations, compare prices etc.) then call them and ask them about your equipment and energy savings differences between what you have and what you could have. Also ask them about percentages of usage between your different equipment.
If you live in Springfield and you want an audit done for you CWLP offers one cheap and if you follow their recommendations they will rebate the cost.