Formulating Your Plan on Energy Spend
After you have identified where your home is losing energy, assign priorities by asking yourself a few important questions:
- How much money do you spend on energy?
- Where are your greatest energy losses?
- How long will it take for an investment in energy efficiency to pay for itself in energy cost savings?
- Do the energy-saving measures provide additional benefits that are important to you (for example, increased comfort from installing double-paned, efficient windows)?
- How long do you plan to own your current home?
- Can you do the job yourself or will you need to hire a contractor?
- What is your budget and how much time do you have to spend on maintenance and repair?
Once you assign priorities to your energy needs, you can form a whole house efficiency plan. Your plan will provide you with a strategy for making smart purchases and home improvements that maximize energy efficiency and save the most money.
Another option is to get the advice of a professional. Many utilities conduct energy audits for free or for a small charge. For a fee, a professional contractor will analyze how well your home’s energy systems work together and compare the analysis to your utility bills. He or she will use a variety of equipment such as blower doors, infrared cameras, and surface thermometers to find leaks and drafts. After gathering information about your home, the contractor or auditor will give you a list of recommendations for cost-effective energy improvements and enhanced comfort and safety. A reputable contractor can also calculate the return on your investment in high-efficiency equipment compared with standard equipment.
Tips for Finding a Contractor
- Ask neighbors and friends for recommendations
- Look in the Yellow Pages
- Focus on local companies
- Look for licensed, insured contractors
- Get three bids with details in writing
- Ask about previous experience
- Check references
- Check with the Better Business Bureau