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Conducting Your Own Energy Tests at Home


Conducting energy tests around your home can help you lower your consumption and energy bills. Here are some tips about common ways and areas where energy gets wasted in a home, as well as some advice on how to limit these kinds of waste in your home.


Air leakage through the envelope contributes up to 20 percent to the average household's energy consumption. To reduce this, you need to locate and block leak sources using caulk, insulating expandable foam and weatherstripping. Common infiltration points on the interior include exterior wall electrical boxes, ceiling/wall junctures and gaps along baseboards. Outdoors, look for leaks at seams between different building components, around windows and doors, along the foundation and around penetrations for wires, pipes and vents.


Electronic devices with digital clocks, remote controls, indicator lights and AC power cord adapters use energy even when they're shut off. You can curtail this by plugging these items into power strips that you can turn off when they're not being used.


Significant energy losses can occur due to heat transfer between a home's living areas and unfinished attic. To limit this waste, you should find and seal any holes and gaps between the two areas, install a vapor barrier against the attic floor, then insulate between the joists to R-38. Weatherstrip and insulate the attic hatch too, and check that it seals tightly and doesn't leak air.


Ductwork that's damaged, leaky, uninsulated, or in poor condition overall can cost you up to 30 percent of your HVAC system's conditioned air output. To get a good idea whether the ductwork needs repairs and/or sealing and insulating, inspect any easily-accessible sections in your garage, crawl space, and attic.


An energy audit can reveal a lot about the state of a home's efficiency. Audits include specialized energy tests like a thermographic scans and blower door that can pinpoint specific problems you should address to maximize your energy savings.

Visit our website for in-depth information on most HVAC topics, or just give us a call at (408) 868-5500.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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