Wrapping Up My DIY Audit

>> Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The house we owned in Maryland was built in the early eighties, so by the time we moved in, it was more than twenty years old. Houses last much longer than twenty years, but oh man, that house felt so old. The baseboards were all pulling away from the wall, there were cracks in the walls and ceiling, and every month it seemed like something else broke. When we moved, my husband and I swore that we would never own an old house ever again.

It's probably not the most eco-friendly thing to say, but after doing my DIY audit the past few months, I stand by that statement. The house we're living in now is approximately five years old and well-constructed, and that has made my job so simple.

Locating Air Leaks

Last month, I sealed the air leaks on all of my electrical outlets - so simple but makes a big impact. A couple people told me I should also put childproof plugs in all of the outlets, and that's on my list of things to do...if I can figure out where I stored them.

To finish up the "locating air leaks" step of the U.S. Department of Energy's DIY audit, I crawled around my house examining the baseboards, windows and doors for any cracks or possible air leaks. In the whole house, I only found one spot where there was a space between the baseboard and the wall (is it worth buying caulk for that one little spot?), and the weather stripping on the back door might need replacing. I also know because I recently cleaned behind the stove that there's a very large gap between the flooring and the drywall with no baseboard. As renters, I'm not sure how we'd fix that.

The biggest air leak in our house is the attic hatch/pull-down stairs. Eventually, I'd really love to add an insulated cover there, but we're not quite ready to make that investment yet.


As renters, there's little we can do in this category, but I can say that the house does seem to be well-insulated with thick blankets of insulation in both the attic and crawlspace with no obvious gaps.

Heating/Cooling Equipment

Again as renters, we're kind of stuck with what we've got, but we can make sure we change our filter regularly. I also plan to go out later this week and trim the bush that hides the air conditioning unit.


We've already switched our bulbs to CFLs where possible, so not much left to do in this category.

So this is it for us:

  • Add childproof plugs to the outlets.
  • Caulk the small gap between the baseboard and the wall.
  • Insulate the attic hatch.
  • Change the air filter.
  • Trim the bush by the air conditioning unit.
Pretty simple and straightforward.

How'd your audit go?


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Condo Blues May 11, 2010 at 12:46 PM  

A big tube of caulk is cheap and will last a long time after you use it. There are small single use caulk packets for sale that don't need a caulk gun if you're concerned about buying the big tube or don't want to buy a caulk gun because you dont' think you'll use it after such a little job.

You can also put weatherstripping around the attic hatch to keep it from leaking if you get the OK from your landlord. I did that with mine and it made a difference.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper May 12, 2010 at 1:05 PM  

@Condo Blues - Thanks for the tips!

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