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How to do a basic home energy audit

An energy audit, when done correctly, is the best way to consistently save money on your energy bills, no matter how big or small your house is, or where you live. In fact, when an energy audit is done correctly, it will save you money on your energy bills. This is because energy audits answer the big question that is often times very difficult to answer – how does my home use energy?

So, without further adieu, let me present you with a very simple 3 step energy audit. All you need is a pen and several pieces of paper.

Draw a line the paper into three columns, lengthwise. In the first column, write “appliance”, in the second, “daily usage”, and in third write “energy rating”.

You’re all ready. Now, go to each room, one by one.

1. In the room, write down everything that uses energy. Anything that is plugged into the wall should be noted. Anything that uses propane or natural gas should be noted. Write down the appliance name in the appliance column, and the average time, in hours, the appliance is used daily. Then with each appliance, write the energy rating (in watts or btu) in the third column.

PRO TIP: Start with the obvious, light bulbs and traditional appliances, then move on to all your other energy devices. Include appliances or electronics that are usually plugged in, but may not be at the moment.

PRO TIP: You can find the energy rating or consumption by looking at the tag found underneath or near the power cord of appliances. If you can’t find the rating, get the model number and look it up online.

Repeat for every room of the house.

2. Sit down with your completed audit sheets, and pour over the data. Make a fourth column, if you have room, and multiply the hours used by the energy rating. This figure represents the energy usage per day for each device or appliance. Some things might really jump out at you at this point, you can clearly see where a lot of energy is being used, and possibly wasted!

3. This is the most important step. Now that you have the raw data of where your energy is going, its time to do something with it. Formulate an energy saving plan by identifying areas where too much energy is used, or wasted. Plan to reduce or eliminate energy waste. For example, you might find that lights are on in a particular room for 4 hours a night, but someone is rarely in the room. Easy – put the lights on a timer or cut the lighting usage when no one is in the room. One thing I think you’ll find, especially if you are online a lot, is computer usage can get very expensive. Cut computer usage, if this is the case, or use a laptop which uses far less energy.

Once you do this, you are guaranteed to save money through an energy audit, because:

  • you’ll know exactly where all your energy goes, and might be wasted
  • any change, no matter how small, is targeted specifically at a certain area or problem
  • energy audits are repeatable, so you can do them over and over again
  • they are adaptable to any environment, house, or even apartment

Hope this helps save you money on your energy bills!

By: Energy Saver Dave

About the Author:

Dave Andersen, aka “Energy Saver Dave”, has been helping people save real money on their energy bills since 2003. Check out “The Professional Home Energy Audit Kit” available at

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