Make Your Home Energy-Smart

Heating CostsBefore the temps drop and your heating bill skyrockets this fall, find and fix problems in your home by conducting a home energy assessment. Here’s how:


    • Do a DIY assessment. Use the Department of Energy’s guide to do-it-yourself energy audits. Yes, it’s tedious, but it’s thorough. Search for air leaks, inspect insulation, check out your heating and cooling units, and replace power-gobbling light bulbs.


    • Hire a pro. Experts can do sophisticated tests like a blower door test and a thermographic scan to check for air leaks and gaps in insulation. Plus they can test for safety issues like high radon levels.


    • You might be able to get a free or low-cost assessment depending on your state—and you can find qualified home energy auditors through Energy Star. (Be sure to hire a BPI-certified or accredited contractor.)


What to expect: Dayle Zatlin of New York’s energy office says the most common improvements needed include sealing around plumbing, wiring, chimney chases, recessed lighting and attics. Costs range depending on where you live and the size of your house—but sealing a 2,000-square-foot house in New York built after the 1950s would cost about $600.

The payoff? Doing an audit and making the recommended changes can save you about 40% on your energy bill, Zatlin says.

Energize your savings. How do you plan to make your more energy efficient this winter?

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