Which Home Energy Improvements Save You the Most Money

June 14th, 2010 by admin Leave a reply »
Blower door test

Infiltrometer or blower door tests identify air leakages in a home.

Which home energy improvements save you the most money on your electric and fuel bills?  This is a great question.

  • Is it Windows?
  • Is it Insulation?
  • Is it an On-Demand Water Heater?
  • Or should you install Solar Panels?

How do you know which is the right upgrade that will save you the most money on your home electric and fuel bills? Historically that’s been a best guess, such as: “It feels drafty in my house, I need to replace my windows.” Or the recommendation of a contractor that sold one of the products.

  • The window company is going to say windows.
  • The solar panel company is going to say solar.
  • The HVAC contractor is gong to say a water heater or furnace.

You see the pattern. And I’m not saying that they’re wrong to say this… they’ve drunk the Kool aid and believe their product is best.

But How Am I to Really Know?

Thermal imaging

A thermal imaging camera identifies warm and cool spots.

That’s easy. A sophisticated home energy audit that includes a blower door test, a duct test, insulation measurement, and thermal imaging will give you real data as to what system in your home is least efficient, and what the return on the investment will be.

Really, it’s scientific. And the data should pretty clearly demonstrate inefficiencies. Then, based on fuel and electric costs, a fairly accurate cost savings can be calculated.

Who Does Comprehensive Home Energy Audits?
Look online. That’s probably the best way to see exactly what each contractor does, and look for an infiltrometer or blower door test at the very least.  Additional signs of a comprehensive home energy audit include duct testing, insulation measurement, and thermal imaging.


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