Thursday, 14 November 2013

Winter is the Time to Save Energy

Fall and winter are the best times of the year for some and not so for others. While attempting to keep warm, most of us end up in spending far more energy than what is required. You try to keep the heater or furnace on all day in an attempt to keep your indoors warm and save the chill from sweeping indoors. These activities can prove costly in terms of energy, which translates into cost for which payments need to be made.

One good way to assess the energy efficiency of your home is to get a home energy checkup or an energy audit done just before winter. You can conduct an energy audit yourself or employ the services of a professional energy auditor.

Benefits of an Energy Audit

1. A home energy audit helps owners determine the places where the house is leaking energy, in other words, money.
2. An energy auditor will help you find problems and corrected them too.
3. Thermography or infrared scanning equipment used for home energy audit can detect the various leakages in your home that allow, warm air to move out and cold air to sweep in.
4. The blower door test is the best way to identify air leakages and analyze why the house is not comfortably warm in winter.

There may be air leaking out through the face plates on switches, windows, pipes, and may be under the sinks too.

Energy auditors may use thermography -- or infrared scanning -- to detect thermal defects and air leakage in building envelopes.

If you do not wish to hire a professional, you could conduct a simple do-it-yourself walk-through of your home. This can help you identify the energy gaps in your home and prioritize on some energy efficiency upgrades.

There are a few other ways in which you could refrain from using more energy in winter. Here are some tips that could prove useful.
  • Rearrange the furniture of your rooms. You could move your furniture in such a way that you are away from the exterior walls and windows of the house. These may be drafty and you may end up increasing the temperature to keep warm. 
  • Open the drapes and let the sunshine in. This holds good for windows that face the south as the rays of the sun in winter can reach indoors. Keeping drapes open, allowing sunshine in reduces the need to keep the room heater or furnace on for warmth.
  • Take shorter showers. People usually like to linger in the shower. If you are one among them, try to make your shower time shorter. This will save the energy spent on heating water that you use while spending that additional time basking in the shower.
  • Clean or replace the furnace filters every month. If the filters are dirty, they restrict the airflow into the furnace and thus the system has to work doubly hard to provide the required heat. This translates into excess energy usage, which again makes you end up with increased energy costs.
  • Keep your furnace well lubricated. This will help you save up to 5% energy.
  • Make use of your appliances efficiently. Using the dishwasher only when it is full, using cold water to wash reduces your washer's energy consumption by 75 %. 
  • Insulate the hot water pipe all the way to the wall. This will help in reducing heat loss in transit.
  • Plug all appliances that "leak energy." Many electronic appliances, such as VCRs, chargers, computer peripherals and TVs continue to consume electricity even when they are switched "off." Turn off all these when they are not in use.

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