You can conduct a home energy audit yourself; use a checklist with the areas to be audited, and inform yourself about the areas to be inspected.
Using online software
Online software, like the Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick and most of all the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Energy Audit Saver can also help you perform a simple energy audit. See, for more information on this free software: Energy Audit Software.
Using utility bills for your DIY audit
Take a close look to your home electric and gas bills and ask yourself some basic questions: Which are the months with higher energy bills? And those with the lower amounts?
Which are the seasonal peaks (heating and cooling?)? And the baseload expenses, that is, those that are more or less constant?
The examination of your energy bills can be a helpful exercise, and may help you take some decisions about the improvements and the areas to audit.
Using videos as a source of information
You can't use the same techniques of professional auditors, but you may take a look on how they work, and what they inspect, to get some ideas for your own DIY energy audit and improvements.
If interested, see a video from EPA, here. It's just a couple of minutes.
Areas of the energy survey
Do not forget the areas that should be audited:
- the attic, floor and wall insulation;
- possible air leaks, including those in the attic, basement and ductwork;
- your windows and doors;
- the efficiency and the age of your heating and cooling equipment;
- the lighting system;
- the hot water system;
- the landscaping;
- your appliances and electronics;
- any other areas with impact on your energy bills...
Checklist and Tests
Be organized and systematic. Before inspecting, draft a list of the areas of relevance to the audit. The checklist will help you to draw conclusions and prioritize energy upgrades.
While performing the energy audit, perform some basic tests and take notes on the problems encountered. Professional auditors use sophisticated equipment like door blowers or thermographic cameras. This equipment is aimed to get a comprehensive knowledge of all the air leaks in the house and the insulation levels, but you may get some good insights using simpler tests.