The Ultimate DIY Home Energy Audit

A home energy audit can save you hundreds of dollars a year. By conducting a thorough check of your home and finding ways to reduce your energy usage, you can be sure to keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter without breaking the bank.

Click on the house below for tips on how to be more energy efficient in each room of the house.

big-houseKitchenBathroomBedroomLaundryOfficeDining roomRoof

Kitchen

Appliances:

Microwave, oven, stove, toaster, kettle, grill, fridge/freezer and dishwasher.

Tips:

  • Use the microwave instead of the oven or stove, and the toaster instead of the grill.
  • When using the kettle, only boil the amount of water required.
  • Only run the dishwasher when it’s full, using the economy cycle, and let the dishes air-dry.
  • Make sure the fridge and freezer doors seal properly.
  • Clean the coils on the back of your fridge to help keep it running efficiently.
  • Reduce cooking time by thawing frozen food in the fridge and keeping lids on pots.

Bathroom

Appliances:

Water heater, showerheads, radiator and heat pumps.

Tips:

  • Install an efficient water heater, like solar water heating.
  • Use water-saving showerheads.
  • Add insulation to your hot water system and use a low thermostat setting.
  • Invest in renewable heating technologies like heat pumps.
  • Reduce your hot water use and shower time.
  • Flush the toilet less, repair any leaks, and retrofit it with a kit that conserves water.

Bedroom

Appliances:

Fan, heater, air conditioner, TV and DVD players.

Tips:

  • Use a programmable thermostat for your heater and air conditioner to control the temperature.
  • Turn off and unplug appliances and electronics when not in use.
  • Use the fan more than your heater and air conditioner if possible.
  • Use a heavier doona during winter to keep you warm.

Laundry

Appliances:

Washing machine and clothes dryer.

Tips:

  • Wash your clothes in cold water and select a short washing cycle.
  • Only run the washing machine with a full load.
  • Dry clothes on the clothesline if you can.

Office

Appliances:

Fan, heater, air conditioner, computer and printer/scanner/fax.

Tips:

  • Use a programmable thermostat for your heater and air conditioner to control the temperature.
  • Turn off and unplug appliances and electronics when not in use.
  • Use the fan more than your heater and air conditioner if possible.

Dining room

Appliances:

Fan, heater and air conditioner.

Tips:

  • Use a programmable thermostat for your heating and cooling systems.
  • Use the fan more if possible.

Roof

Appliances:

Attic insulation and solar panels.

Tips:

  • Prevent heat escaping from the attic by insulating it approximately 12cm deep with a high R-value material, e.g. R-30.
  • Clear attic vents of insulation to help with interior air circulation.
  • Install solar panels on your roof to generate your own renewable energy.

How to conduct a home energy audit

If you’re thinking of conducting a home energy audit yourself, it’s important that you plan ahead and know what to do. A home energy audit should only take you 2-4 hours to complete and a little money to spend on auditing tools. The payoff is huge savings on your energy bills.

You should audit everything inside your home, including your main household appliances. The following is a checklist of questions to ask yourself as you conduct your own home energy audit. The more things you answer ‘yes’ to, the more energy efficient your home is.

Heating and coolingYesNo
Is your HVAC system less than 10 years old?
Do you have a programmable thermostat?
Is your thermostat set to a low temperature?
Are the filters and ducts clean?
Do you use ceiling fans?
Are your heating and cooling systems energy-efficient?
Water heatingYesNo
Do you use an energy-efficient hot water system?
Is your hot water system positioned near the bathroom?
Is the thermostat set to a low temperature?
Are your hot water pipes properly insulated?
Do you use a water-efficient showerhead?
Appliances and electronicsYesNo
Are your appliances and electronics energy-efficient?
Are they plugged into power strips?
Is your microwaved turned off when not in use?
Fridges and freezersYesNo
Do the doors seal properly and not leak air?
Is there less than 5mm of frost build-up on the freezer walls?
Do you run only one fridge and freezer?
Are they energy-efficient?
Are they situated in a cool, well-ventilated and shaded area?
Is the temperature of the fridge between 3-5°C and the freezer between minus 15-18°C?
LightingYesNo
Are you using energy-efficient light bulbs?
Do you use lights with low wattage?
Do your outdoor lights have motion sensors?
Can each light be turned on and off individually?
Do you use individual lamps in each room?
Do you use skylights?
CookingYesNo
Does the oven door seal properly?
Do you use energy-efficient appliances?
Standby powerYesNo
Do you use a standby power controller to reduce standby time?
Do your appliances have low standby power?
Do you turn off your appliances at the wall or power board?
WindowsYesNo
Does the glass have a tint or coating? Is a thin film applied on the glass?
Are your window frames timber, uPVC or combination frames, rather than aluminum?
Are your blinds white or almost white? Do your blinds have a reflective surface on the outside to help reduce the energy used to cool your home?
Are your blinds and pelmet fitted tightly so there’s no room for air to be trapped?
Do you have thick fabric curtains to help increase insulation?
Do your windows have a ventilation opening to allow heat to escape and reduce the work your air conditioner has to do?
Shading and landscapingYesNo
Does your external shading have a light colour? Does it have a reflective surface on the outside?
Does the positioning of your external shading structures match the level of sun you receive? Do you have horizontal shading on any north-facing openings?
Do your plants provide shade in summer to protect your home from heat?
Do you use ground cover plants rather than pavers or concrete, which can attract heat and make more work for your air conditioner?
Are your skylights covered by external blinds or louvers to stop unwanted heat coming in?
Have you planted deciduous vines to grow on your pergolas for summer shade?
InsulationYesNo
Is your home made of something that has good insulation properties, like aerated concrete blocks, hollow expanded polystyrene blocks, rendered extruded polystyrene sheets, and even straw bales?
Do your roof and ceiling have insulation?
Do your external walls have insulation?
Is there insulation under the floor?
Do your downlights have protectors installed in the ceiling?
Do you have the right amount of exterior shading for your insulation?
Proofing and sealingYesNo
Have you fixed any cracks or gaps in your interior wall joints?
Are there seals around your windows where air leaks?
Are there seals between any excess space between doors and their frames?
Do you have door sweeps at the bottom edge of your doors?
Have you sealed gaps where your air conditioner enters your home?
Have you had an electrician install draught-proofing gaskets behind your electrical points?
Have you had an electrician check exposed piping, electrical or telephone lines and seal any gaps around them?
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