It’s safe to say that everyone wants a cheaper energy bill. One way to accomplish this is to get an electricity plan with a great rate (like one from Chariot 😉), but you can do more. Specifically — How much you pay on your bill is directly correlated to how much electricity you use in your home. 

Thus, if you want the leanest electric bill possible, you must also learn how to use less energy in your home. That starts with assessing your home’s energy usage with an energy audit. While a professional audit is much more precise, you’ll have to spend money to save money. Thankfully, conducting a home energy audit yourself is much easier than it sounds. 

Let’s discuss what’s involved in a home energy audit, what you need in your arsenal of energy-saving tools, and the comprehensive checklist of the areas in your home to optimize for maximum energy efficiency. 

What is a Home Energy Audit?

The word “audit” makes it sound more advanced than it actually is. An energy audit is simply an assessment of how your home uses energy. This includes your air conditioning system, water heater, electronics, appliances, lighting, laundry, and more. 

In a professional home energy assessment, your home’s energy usage will be analyzed with advanced technology like a thermal imaging camera and a door blower. These devices can detect air leaks that are invisible to the naked eye. But as we mentioned earlier, professional audits can sometimes be costly.

A DIY energy audit won’t be as thorough of an inspection, but it’s still an effective way to spot big drafts, poorly insulated hot water heaters, old weatherstripping, and more. After this at-home energy audit, you’ll have a much better idea of the steps you should take in your home if you really want to save energy — and money! 

Proper weatherstripping is an essential component to achieving peak energy efficiency in your home.

Your Savings Toolkit: Things You’ll Need to Achieve Peak Energy Efficiency

While it might be counterintuitive to spend money to save money, the return on investment will be worthwhile. We intentionally chose relatively inexpensive technology that will provide big returns on your bills by reducing your energy consumption.

Depending on your home’s individual energy status, we recommend adding these items to your shopping list include: 

  • LED light bulbs
  • Powerstrips
  • Weatherstripping
  • Caulk
  • HVAC filters
  • Insulating blanket for hot water heater
  • A grill
  • A chimney balloon

These features might be more expensive, but they are just as energy-saving: 

  • A smart thermostat
  • An attic box
  • ENERGY STAR appliances
  • Low-flow faucets to save water
  • Blackout curtains

With this shopping list in hand, it’s time to determine what you’ll actually need with our comprehensive checklist. 

Chariot Energy’s DIY Energy Audit Checklist

We recommend the following plan of attack for your DIY efforts. Ordered from easiest to most difficult, you should print this out, and cross off each item as you go. 

Install a programmable thermostatSmart thermostats can be pricey, but you can get basic programmable models for around $20. 
Program your new thermostatIf it’s winter, following these thermostat settings. If it’s summer, we recommend following these, as they’re calculated for maximum energy savings. 
Check for air leaksShine a light or hold a damp hand in front of places where two materials meet. These include wiring holes, windows, sliding doors, where the chimney meets the ceiling, plumbing holes, electrical outlets, openings in exterior walls and cracks where the foundation meets the exterior siding.
Caulk cracks, weatherstrip windows and doorsIf you find a crack, fill it with caulk. If you find a leaky window or door, replace the weatherstripping.
Check your water heater’s temperatureYour water heater probably is still set at the factory setting of 140 °F. The EPA suggests you turn it down by 20 degrees for safety and savings.
Insulate your water heater if warm to the touchIf your water heater is warm to the touch, you’re losing energy and throwing away money. Purchase an insulated blanket for your water heater.
Replace all incandescent bulbsTraditional light bulbs are a huge waste of money, devoting nearly all their energy to heat energy rather than light. Install LED bulbs instead, as they cost the same as other bulbs and last for years and years.
Change your filter every monthYour air conditioner will work more efficiently and with fewer issues when you replace the filter every month.
Plug “vampire” appliances into a power stripVampire appliances are devices that use electricity even when they’re off, including your computer, TV, gaming consoles, cellphones, and more. To prevent them from wasting energy, plug them all into a single power strip and turn it off when they’re not in use.
Cook outsideCooking in your home heats up your house, causing your air conditioner to work overtime. Get a grill and cook outside when possible, as the heat will disperse instead of. being trapped in your house.
Purchase an attic boxYour attic entry is basically one giant hole that should be insulated. An attic box is a removable piece of insulation that keeps outside air from getting in and vice versa.
Use a chimney balloonIf you have a chimney, purchase and install a chimney balloon to keep outside air from getting inside. It helps cool your home in summer, and you can remove it during the winter.
Use your ceiling fans wiselyFans help the air feel cooler than it actually is. In the summer, make sure your ceiling fans blow air down, while in winter, having them blow air up to evenly distribute the heat.
Consider a smart thermostatIf you’re looking to upgrade your current programmable thermostat, consider a smart thermostat. They can be controlled remotely and programmed to turn on based on your location, and more.
Replace your old faucet headsLow-flow and aerated faucets use much less water than regular ones. Install these to keep your water bill low and the energy your water heater uses to a minimum.
Get ENERGY STAR appliancesWhen your old appliances die, replace them with ENERGY STAR ones. They use energy much more efficiently, which leads to savings on your bill.

So You’ve Audited Your Home. Now What? 

Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed your audit. If you’re craving more energy-saving activities, check out our Energy Saving hub to learn even more strategies and tips. 

What If You’re Still Not Seeing Results? 

If you’re still not seeing results, it just might be your energy plan and rate. Luckily, we’ve also got a solution for that! Chariot offers affordable energy produced by 100% Texas solar panels. If you’re interested in switching, visit our plans page to check out our rates in your area. 

Happy saving!

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