HOME ENERGY AUDIT WITH INFRARED CAMERA
Three Rivers Electric Cooperative provides energy audits to members for $50. Helping our members use energy wisely is important to both the member and the Cooperative.
An energy audit can help the member locate areas in the home that could be improved or changed in order to use less electricity or use it more efficiently. Included with the energy audit is a weatherization kit. This kit contains caulk, weather stripping, Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs, hot water pipe wrap, low flow shower head, and insulation for outlets and light switches.
To schedule an energy audit, contact Marketing and Technical Services at 573-644-9000 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conduct your own online energy audit. The Department of Energy sponsors the Home Energy Saver website which offers a free interactive energy audit calculator as well as energy saving tips.
THE "DO-IT-YOURSELF" HOME ENERGY AUDIT
If you prefer a “Do-It-Yourself” audit, here are some things you can look for to help save money on your bill.
HEATING & COOLING
- Always make sure your furnace filter is clean. Wash it or replace it once a month according to manufacturer's recommendations to keep your furnace running most efficiently. A clogged filter can be costly.
- Check your ductwork to make sure it is not separated anywhere and leaking air. If in an attic or crawl space, it must be heavily insulated, much more than just what is sold as "insulated ducting."
- Air coming from a furnace is at a high temperature, but before it arrives into a room, much of the heat is lost in the ductwork if located in an attic, crawl space or unheated basement. These must be insulated heavily.
- While your fireplace is cold, place a thin plastic bag (the type dry-cleaners use) inside. If the bag drifts upward, your damper is not tight. Also you should have a set of airtight glass doors to further reduce the draw. If you use a fireplace, combustion air from outdoors should be provided directly to it.
WATER HEATER & PUMP
- Your water heater is a major energy user in your home, no matter what type of energy it uses. It may need an insulation blanket on it. When installing a water heater, set it on a piece of Styrofoam insulation to keep heat from dissipating into the floor. (Note: this is not possible with a gas water heater.)
- Is your hot water faucet dripping? If it is you could lose tanks full of hot water. Save water and electricity by fixing it. Even a faucet dripping cold water will increase the cost of pumping water.
- Set the water heater thermostat at 120 degrees; 140 if you use an automatic dishwasher.
- Check the water heater periodically for burned out elements. These can cause high usage, running out of hot water and possibly other problems.
- Although submersible water pumps operate efficiently, they have been found to be running continually without anyone knowing it. Make sure the pressure switch is operating properly and the tank is not waterlogged. A problem with plumbing could multiply electric consumption for water pumping by 15 times.
REFRIGERATOR & FREEZER
- Check your refrigerator and freezer for air tightness by opening the door, inserting a new dollar bill where the seal meets the unit itself, then shutting the door and trying to pull the bill out. If it pulls easily, you need a new gasket.
- Does your freezer need defrosting? Are the coils clean in the back and underneath? A refrigerator or freezer needs room around and over to "breathe.”
- Check temperatures by placing a thermometer into the refrigerator or freezer. A refrigerator need not be any cooler than 38 to 41 degrees F; the freezer compartment, 5 degrees F, and a stand-alone freezer should be 0 degrees F.
- If you have a waterbed, is an insulated cover and bedspread pulled up on it when it’s not in use? Also placing it on the bare floor causes heat loss underneath.
- Do you have a dehumidifier? If it runs continuously, it could use 285 kilowatt hours a month.
WINDOWS & DOORS
- On a windy day, hold a lit incense stick next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak and may need caulking, sealing or weather-stripping. Try to slip a quarter under each outside door. If it goes through easily, the door needs weather-stripping.
- Are any appliances, pipes or other devices in your home shocking you? This could indicate a short circuit, a dangerous condition that also costs you wasted electricity. If this is the case, we advise contacting a qualified electrician that follows the National Electrical Code for a thorough inspection.
- Taking daily meter readings helps you determine the activities that consume the most energy. Usage will fluctuate up or down during the winter and summer.
- Many things can cause usage to go up (for example: if you add a new resident, especially a baby, entertaining company, etc.) If you go away on vacation, do not forget that your water heater, refrigerator, freezer and furnace (and some other appliances) keep working. Then when you get home, your usage can rise sharply because you are doing catch-up laundry, etc.
- Last but not least, and maybe one of the most important things, is that everyone uses electricity differently. One person may open the refrigerator door and take out one thing. Another person may think about all that they need to prepare the meal and get it out all at once. One family may have all the rooms in the house lit up where another may light only the area they are in. Some people pamper themselves with a nice, long, hot shower or deep bath. Some people are very quick and are in and out in a short time.
- All of these things matter and all add up at the end of a month. People's life-styles play a major role in what the total energy bill will be for the month.