According to Joe Medosch, Healthy Building Scientist at Hayward Score, “Most people know to turn off lights and to adjust the thermostat to improve energy efficiency, but find themselves stumped at what to do next.”
His advice? “Start with the easy and inexpensive fixes like swapping light bulbs, caulking or weather-stripping leaky areas, or installing occupancy sensors or timers and make a longer-term plan to replace equipment and fix more serious issues.”
Here are a few of Joe’s favourite DIY ideas for where to look in your home for ways to reduce your energy bill and improve the health of your home in the process:
- Find and seal the easy to reach air leaks. The weather-stripping around your doors can cause significant air leakage, and provide a path for outdoor contaminants and pests. Deteriorated weather stripping at one door can equal an opening the size of a soft-baseball (4in). Windows are the leakiest installation in your home and also have weather-striping around the windows that causes problems. An interior garage door with poor weather-stripping can allow carbon monoxide and other chemicals into your home.
- Swap your bulbs. Lower wattage LED (light-emitting diode) light bulbs can use 75% less energy than standard bulbs. Most LED bulbs can pay for themselves in about 12-14 months. CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs can save slightly more, but they do contain mercury. The next improvement in reducing kilowatts is to install dimmer switches and motion sensors to reduce usage. Remember to check if your LED or CFL bulbs work with dimmers.
- Hunt for energy drains. Small appliances can use major amounts of energy when not being used. This is referred to as “phantom loads” – devices that are constantly using energy, like that old VCR or DVD player. That old second refrigerator (however nostalgic) in the garage could be major energy hog, especially if its 15 years or older.
- Check your insulation. The easiest way to do this is to get in touch with us at G-Force Healthy Homes as we offer a free Insulation Assessment – click here to book one today
- Have a professional evaluate your heating and cooling equipment. Heat pumps and air conditioners should be professionally maintained with clean filters and ducts. Units more than 15 years old should be replaced with more energy efficient sealed combustion models. G-Force Healthy Homes offer a free Heating & Cooling Assessment – click here to book one today
Whether you’ve hired a professional or done it yourself, your home energy audit will produce a list of opportunities for energy use improvement. Start with the easy and inexpensive fixes like swapping light bulbs, caulking or weather-stripping leaky areas, or installing dimmer switches and make a longer-term plan to replace equipment and fix more serious issues. Any changes, small or large, will make a difference to your carbon footprint, your energy bill and your health.