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    Energy Saving Ideas & Tips

    A home energy audit - sometimes known as a home performance assessment or whole house energy evaluation - is the first step in making your home more energy efficient. It's easy to do and the results are important, because they help establish the baseline upon which you want to improve.

    All you have to do is walk around your house, look for signs of energy loss and make a checklist of the problems that you find. Then prioritize your projects and decide which ones you want to start on first. You can do the audit yourself using the home energy saving tips below or you can hire a contractor to conduct a professional energy audit. Either way, it will get you started down the road to saving energy - and money.

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When to Hire a Professional

If you're not sure whether you should conduct your home energy audit by yourself or whether you should hire a contractor, you might want to look at this video. For example, if your home energy issues are complicated, if you can't crawl into your problem areas or if you want to use advanced technologies to pinpoint your needs, then you should consider a professional home energy audit. On the other hand, if you've got confidence in your abilities and you're ready to tackle it yourself, let's get started!

Locate Your Air Leaks

Depending on the age of your home, you could enjoy home energy savings of 5% to 30% per year on your overall energy bill by simply reducing the drafts in your home. Check your windows, doors, chimneys, attic hatches and even your electrical outlets.  If you'd like to see a demo of how to check for drafts, you can look at this video. Once you find your problem areas, you can use the products below to create the solutions.

Discover Your Insulation Needs

If you have an older home, chances are that you need more insulation. But finding out how much more can be difficult, especially in your walls. A thermal leak detector can find insulation "soft spots" around electrical outlets, recessed lighting and floor molding, but only a professional can give you a complete and expert assessment of your entire home. For best results, ask a professional for a free inspection and analysis. Find out more at Insulation Tips.

Inspect Your HVAC System

Heating and cooling your home accounts for approximately half of the energy you use. So, since you're doing your home energy audit, this would be a perfect time to have a professional come out, tune up your HVAC system and see if it's still operating at peak efficiency. However, if your unit is over 10 years old, you might consider upgrading to a new ENERGY STAR® system, which could save you hundreds of dollars on your annual energy bill. Increase your home energy savings by finding out more about HVAC Maintenance Tips.

Analyze Your Lighting Design

This is an easy series of do-it-yourself tasks. First, check to see where you can use daylighting to replace artificial lighting in your home. Second, see where you can switch to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), because they use only 25% to 30% of the energy used by incandescent light bulbs. Third, learn about lighting design to improve the quality and efficiency of your lighting. And finally, see where you can set up automatic controls to turn off your lights when you're not there. Learn more at the Upgrade to Energy Saving Lighting project.

Install a Whole House Energy Monitor

Once you've conducted your own home energy audit or had a contractor come in for a professional audit, you'll have the home energy saving ideas you need to start making improvements. But before you do, you should consider installing a whole house energy monitor. It's a device that can display real-time usage numbers based on a signal it receives from the electricity meter. This is helpful because, as you make each improvement, you can see the difference it makes in kilowatt hours, as well as in dollars and cents.

Find a Professional Energy Auditor

If you decide to hire a professional home energy auditor, we'd be happy to make some suggestions. In fact, the professionals that we recommend are some of the top experts in their field. What's more, when it comes to your energy problems, they have the experience, specialized skills and high-tech tools to give you the most accurate and detailed analysis. Just visit the Preferred Provider Network to find a company near you.