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Energy Efficiency

Save With a DIY Home Energy Audit

Learn where you might be leaking energy—and then save money

Whether your home is old or new, it’s likely that you’re spending more on energy costs than necessary.

Conducting a baseline energy audit of your home to identify where you are losing energy (and money) is the first step to knowing what improvements should be made.

Use a checklist and take notes on problems you find as you walk through your home and plan to address the issues to start realizing savings.

Basic Energy Audit Steps

1. Insulation and air leaks/drafts: Improving your home’s insulation and sealing air leaks are the most cost-effective ways to reduce energy waste, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Is there sufficient insulation in the attic? The recommended depth is 10–14 inches. Are openings that contain piping, ductwork and the chimney sealed? Is there a change in temperature where walls meet ceilings or floors or around windows and outlets? Caulking and weatherstripping are inexpensive ways to address air leaks.

2. Electronic devices: Take an inventory of the electronic devices you have and how often you use them. Computers, printers, DVD players, phones and gaming consoles are notorious vampire power users; they drain energy even when not in use. If items can be turned off without requiring a lengthy reboot, plug them into a power strip so you can turn off several items at once.

3. Lighting: Replace incandescent lightbulbs with LEDs. Install motion-sensor lights in any low-use area such as a closet, porch or garage. Consider replacing night lights with LEDs as well.

4. Thermostat: Do you have a programmable thermostat? When was the last time it was programmed? Is it set so the temperature is lower during times when no one is home and at night when people are sleeping? Consider lowering the temperature a few degrees, and upgrade to a smart thermostat to unlock greater efficiencies.

5. Appliances, timing and maintenance: If your appliances are more than 10 years old, they’re likely not as energy-efficient as today’s options. How and when you use them also make a difference. Do you wash clothes in hot water? Try using cold water. Consider running your washer, dryer or dishwasher at night, during off-peak times. Does your water heater have a blanket? If not, consider insulating it. Make sure the dryer vent isn’t blocked; this will save energy and also could prevent a fire.


Once you complete an audit, take a look at your findings. Prioritize actions you can take based on your time and budget, weighing where you can get the most bang for your buck.