by Gilly Brewster
Each month your electricity bills give you a shock? And you always think of keeping a close check on electricity usage?
It's quite simple if you really want to 'audit' your electricity expenses. Similar to an official audit, your home energy audit will give you a clear understanding of the usage per appliance, the peak hours of electricity consumption and cost-benefit analysis.
Ultimately you'll be in a better position to take control of your monthly bill. Once you get to know the consumption pattern, you'll be able to take corrective actions that will not only reduce unnecessary electricity usage but will also improve your budget.
You can perform this energy audit yourself if you have the necessary knowledge of energy requirements, consumption pattern and methods to measure energy leakage. Otherwise you can hire an 'external auditor' that has been trained for such purpose and are well-equipped for the assessment.
They have the blower doors and infrared cameras to assess the loss of cooling and heat from a house. Any hidden holes and cracks are detected. These auditors check the walls, ceilings, doors and every other prospect that can contribute to energy conservation.
But if you want to save cost, you can perform an energy audit yourself. You first have to familiarize yourself with the procedure of energy assessment. Make sure to make a list of spots and ways you discover to improve energy usage.
The first and foremost factor in energy spill is air. Any crevices or gaps in walls, window panes, after split units, holes in cupboards or in walls can fairly raise the cooling and heating requirements.
Check for any such cracks in your house and fill them up, which can reduce electricity usage by almost 30% a year. Examine each wall, door, ceiling separately and don't forget to take a look at fireplace dampers and switch boards too.
After internal examination, check exterior walls and chimney too but beware of any possible air combustion. Inspect the insulated walls and ceilings, read installation manual and check if the insulation is meeting those requirements.
You will need some electricity voltage readers when you'll deal with the insulation.
A thorough examination of cooling and heating system is must and any defects must be removed immediately. Dilapidated cooling or heating systems consume considerably higher amount of energy than the newer ones.
Determine whether you really need to replace your system. It is advisable to take services of professionals as they can accurately measure air filtration, heat conduction, energy input rate and R-value (rate of resistance) of various components.
Before his inspection, you must have your own list of possible energy leakage problems.
He can also report the mechanical efficiency of each device by measuring the input and output rate. Home energy auditor is an expert of thermograph and can record surface temperature of each wall.
Thus identifying any loss of heat or cooling either through convection or radiation. A thermal assessment can nearly cost $300 to $600.
A non-contact infrared thermometer can be used to make a rough estimate of heat loss if you don't want to spend this much on thermal assessment. Temperature of exterior walls is measures in this method to calculate gross temperature.
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