Mother Earth Living

The Good Life

All things Mother Earth Living

Add to My MSN

A Summer Energy Audit Can Save You Money!

6/22/2009 12:00:00 AM

Tags: energy audit, save energy, air leaks, save money, AC

Yesterday was the first day of summer, and homeowners in many regions are already feeling the scorching summer temperatures and are cranking up their air conditioning units. 

Summer is a great time for an energy audit. Leaky windows, inefficient lighting, poor insulation and inefficient cooling keep your energy bills sky-high.  If you haven’t performed (or hired someone to perform) a summer energy audit, you can do it yourself, or in many cases public utility companies offer free or low-cost audits.  

Incandescent light bulbs emit heat and use more electricity than efficient lighting—in fact, 90 percent of the energy used by a standard light bulb is given off as heat. Although that heat is minimal, it could cause you to crank the AC down a few degrees, which could lead to an energy-spending spree. Energy-efficient lighting options include light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which don’t emit nearly as much heat. These choices (especially LEDs) can be more expensive, but they last longer than traditional bulb. Their longer lives and reduced energy use can make up the cost difference. 

Poorly insulated pipes and walls also contribute to energy loss. In 2005 a study estimated that 65 percent of the homes in the United States had poor insulation. When installing insulation, opt for one with a high R-value. You can determine R-value by multiplying the insulation’s by the number of inches installed. 

Check your insulation when you perform your summer energy audit. Photo by thingermejig/Courtesy Flickr 

Find air leaks near older windows, electrical outlets, baseboards, fireplaces, pipes, mail slots, foundation and doors. By minimizing drafts, you could reduce energy savings 5 to 30 percent annually. Single-pane and other inefficient windows usually result in lots of energy loss; changing out old windows for double-pane, energy-efficient ones can save money and energy. 

Inefficient air conditioning units can also result in energy loss if not maintained well. Clean filters once a month or every other month, depending on use. Typically, cleaner equipment runs more efficiently. Replace filters as needed, especially if you use it frequently. 

With all the money you can save by simply tightening up your home and doing a little maintenance, you can enjoy summer even more.

Related Content

Earth’s (No) Power Hour

Turn out the lights. Light the candles. Tomorrow night (March 28) from 8:30-9:30 (in your time zone)...

New Legislation Creates Green Building Opportunities

Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains how the new energy and climate legislati...

2010 Predictions: Smaller, Smarter, Greener Homes

For part three of our 2010 Predictions series, the experts predict that consumers will demand—and cr...

Weatherize Your Home, Collect Stimulus Money

Weatherizing your home saves you money. Just a few simple changes can greatly reduce the amount of e...

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.