Do-it-yourself Audit

With the cold weather, your energy use has probably increased.  Use this checklist to make your home more efficient by inspecting your own home.

Clean up on energy savings in the kitchen

  • Clean condenser coils on the refrigerator.  Dirty coils make it use more energy. Maintain the recommended setting in your refrigerator and freezer. Settings between 38°F and 42°F in the refrigerator and 0°F and 5°F in the freezer are sufficient to keep your food cold and safe.
  • Check the dishwasher owner’s manual for recommendations on the water temperature.  Your dishwasher may have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater at a lower temperature.

 

Do you have savings going down the drain?

  • Replace old showerheads with energy efficient ones to reduce hot water use.  You’ll hardly notice a difference in water pressure, but you’ll reduce the water you have to heat.
  • Check the water heater temperature.  Set the temperature at 120 degrees. 
  • Repair leaky water faucets.

 

Don’t let energy savings escape

  • Seal and caulk around windows, doors, electrical outlets and plumbing fixtures.
  • Apply weather stripping around doors.
  • Install common draft guards beneath the doors.
  • Clean or replace furnace filters. Check manufacturer’s maintenance instructions for service recommendations.  Heat pumps should be serviced annually or as noted by the manufacturer. 
  • Clean the registers.  Make sure nothing is blocking the air flow.
  • Close the vents to the crawlspace of your home to prevent cool air from penetrating under your house.
  • Check your duct work for leaks and sections that may have separated. Secure the connections with mechanical fasteners such as sheet metal screws. Seal the joints with duct mastic.
  • Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on exterior walls.
  • If you use a fireplace, installing tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system will blow warmed air back into the room. Close the damper when not in use. As much as 14% of your warm air escapes out a chimney.
  • Look for dirty spots in your insulation, which indicate air leaks in and out of your house. Seal the holes by stapling sheets of plastic over the holes and caulking the edges of the plastic.

 

All around savings

  • Install compact florescent light bulbs throughout the house.  Don’t forget the garage.
  • Turn off lights and electronics when not in use.  Encourage others to do the same.
  • Unplug chargers when not in use. 
  • When shopping for a new appliance or electronic device, look for the Energy Star® logo.
  • If you have an old refrigerator in the garage that isn’t getting much use, get rid of it or replace it with an energy efficient one.
  • Check with Benton PUD for rebates on home improvements such as windows, insulation, heat pump or duct sealing project.