Clark Howard: Tips for conserving energy in your home

DAYTON — Each month, people pay hundreds of dollars for gas and electricity. Then, add Internet, cell phone, cable, water, and streaming bills.

Consumer Adviser Clark Howard shows you one thing you can do right now to save money on your utility bill.

It’s called an energy audit and before you replace your windows or your heating and air-conditioning system, have one done. It could save you thousands.

William Crawford is an energy auditor, and he is on the hunt for lost energy and savings.

Crawford works for Energy Consulting Services. The company conducts performance energy audits.

“Which is diagnostic testing that’s designed to determine exactly where your home’s losing energy,” Crawford said.

Shane Matteson owns the company. He said, “The biggest value is to give you the information, not just when to spend money, but when not to spend money,”

“The tilt in the window lets me know how bad the settling is in the house,” Crawford said.

As houses settle into the earth, window frames bow and energy escapes but replacing windows is costly.

“We’re probably talking $700 to $1,300 a piece,” Crawford said. That is not always the most efficient solution.

“What I typically recommend is to weather strip the windows,” he said.

The average cost is between $100-$500 depending on the size of your home. Adding a storm window is another option as most run under $500.

Next, Crawford attached a blower to depressurize the house and create a vacuum at the door to find out where the leaks were coming from.

“Feel that air?” The issue that separates the unfinished basement from the rest of the home.

A thermal detector found hot air seeping from the attic. An attic tent solves the problem for anywhere between $30-$200. And, while foam insulation may be the in-thing, it’s not always the best thing for your home.

“Let’s say for an attic if you don’t have an HVAC system up there, generally it’s not going to pay for itself to go foam because spray foam cost more than twice as much as traditional fiberglass or cellulose insulation,” Crawford said.

He next looks for gas leaks in the water heater and furnace. And finally, Crawford uses a pressure pan to test the ducts. After just two hours the homeowner had energy savings solutions that won’t break the bank.

The cheaper the fixes you can do a lot of them yourself. Think how much you’ll save and if you are going to hire a contractor, prices vary so widely when you are doing home improvements, especially energy conservation.

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