Step One of My DIY Energy Audit

>> Friday, April 16, 2010

Step one of the U.S. Department of Energy's DIY audit is "locating air leaks:"

First, make a list of obvious air leaks (drafts). The potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home may range from 5% to 30% per year, and the home is generally much more comfortable afterward. Check for indoor air leaks, such as gaps along the baseboard or edge of the flooring and at junctures of the walls and ceiling. Check to see if air can flow through these places:

  • Electrical outlets
  • Switch plates
  • Window frames
  • Baseboards
  • Weather stripping around doors
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Attic hatches
  • Wall- or window-mounted air conditioners
  • I'm starting today with my electrical outlets and switch plates, specifically the ones on exterior walls of my house. Sealing the air leaks on these is so simple. You start with a pack of electric outlet and switch sealers from your local hardware store. (Or if you're truly DIY, you can make your own outlet sealers with styrofoam meat trays.)

    To install, simply screw off the outlet cover.

    Press the pre-cut sealer in position around the outlets or light switch, and screw the cover back on.

    Repeat with all of the outlets and light switches on your exterior walls, and voila! With just a few minutes of your time, you've reduced drafts in your home and knocked a little bit off of your electricity bill.

    When we bought our house in Maryland, the home inspector told us that people lose more energy through their outlets than through their windows. I don't know if that's really true or not, but it's worth the couple bucks investment if it is!

    One final reminder to my Triangle readers!

    Dig In is tomorrow, and I will be there helping out with the booth for the Raleigh Community Gardeners. I'll also be at the Planet Earth Celebration in Raleigh from 3 to 5 manning a booth for the Advocates for Health in Action. If you're going to be at either of those events, let's connect!


    You have hereby been challenged to go green in a year without going broke! Check out the last challenge, or view the whole list of Challengicious Mondays. Sign up for my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, and join my "Go Green without Going Broke" group on Facebook!


    Condo Blues April 16, 2010 at 8:41 PM  

    Insulating the switches and outlets in my house really made a difference. I had to make gaskets for some of my odd shaped outlets, like for my dryer. I used kids craft foam. I put plastic kids child proofing plugs in the outlets too

    Erin aka Conscious Shopper April 19, 2010 at 9:34 PM  

    @Condo Blues - The child proofing plugs is a very good idea. I might have to scrounge some of those up.

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