Is there anything I can do this summer to save on next winter’s heating oil bills?
This is the first of a 4-part series of things you can do this summer to cut your energy bills all year round, especially your home heating oil bills.
A good place to start is with a home energy audit. A professional energy assessment helps you learn how you use energy, determine where it’s being wasted and prioritize your efficiency upgrades.
According to the energy.gov website, making energy efficiency upgrades identified in a home energy audit can save 5-30 percent on your monthly energy bill while also ensuring the health and safety of your house. It begins with an energy auditor who will do a room-by-room examination of your residence, as well as a thorough examination of past utility bills. Most will also include a thermographic scan to identify “hot spots” where heated air is escaping. And many will also include a blower door test where you home is “depressurized” to see where outside air is being sucked in.
While a professional home energy audit is the best way to determine where your home is losing energy, and where you can save, there are some things you can do to conduct your own simple walk-through and spot many problems yourself.
Set aside a reasonable amount of time to do a thorough job. A Saturday morning or afternoon is usually about right. As you walk through your home, make a checklist of what you have inspected and the problems you found. This will help you to prioritize any energy efficiency upgrades you may decide on. And don’t assume that just because your home is recently constructed–or even new–that there are no opportunities to save energy. Energy-saving technology has evolved rapidly over the past few years with lots of new products, including sensors, controls, lighting, windows and water heating appliances.
Here are some things to look for. And while this list is by no means comprehensive, it can still save you money on your energy costs, including home heating oil, over time.
Let’s start with air leaks.
You probably already know where some air leaks are, such as an under-the-door draft, but you’ll also need to find the less obvious gaps to properly seal your home. Feel for cooler (or warmer) outside air coming in, and just the opposite, cooler (or warmer) air leaving your home when checking for leaks on the outside. Also, look for light coming through any cracks or gaps as an indicator that air is entering and exiting.
Places to check for indoor air leaks
- Electrical outlets
- Switch plates
- Door and window frames
- Electrical and gas service entrances
- Weather stripping around doors
- Fireplace dampers
- Attic hatches
- Wall- or window-mounted air conditioners
- Cable TV and phone line entry points
- Where dryer vents pass through walls
- Vents and fans.
Place to check for leaks on the outside of your home
- All exterior corners
- Outdoor water faucets
- Where siding and chimneys meet
- Areas where the foundation and the bottom of exterior brick or siding meet
- Areas where two different building materials meet
Once you’ve identified and listed the air leaks, you should plug any holes or penetrations. Caulk will usually work for faucets, pipes, electric outlets, and wiring. For cracks and holes in the mortar, foundation or siding choose the appropriate materials.
That’s a good start. Next time we will continue with tips on insulation.
Thank you for your business! We never take your continued trust in us for granted. We are committed to providing our customers with the cheapest heating oil prices, and we will always take the opportunity to keep you informed on energy conservation topics that can save you money on your energy bills.
Conservation Tip 2 – Insulate Your Home