Home Energy Audit

Consider an energy audit to save money on your energy bill.


Although it can be easy to put off, assessing your home for energy efficiency could be a double win: The changes you make could make you more comfortable inside your home and help you save on energy bills. Increasing energy efficiency in your home could add up, but in a good way. According to Energy.gov,

  • Sealing uncontrolled air leaks can save from $83 to $166 a year
  • Weather stripping double-hung windows can save $42 to $86 annually.
  • Insulating your water heater tank can save $20 to $45 a year

Is your home’s envelope well sealed? Your home’s envelope consists of its outer walls, windows, doors, and other openings. A well-sealed envelope, coupled with the right amount of insulation, can reduce your energy use — and, in turn, your utility bills. And that means extra money for you to spend on things you want.

According to EnergyStar.gov, a whopping 9 out of 10 homes in the U.S. are under-insulated.

  • Homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs (or an average of 11% on total energy costs) by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors, over crawl spaces and basements.


    Conduct a DIY home energy audit

    First, find out:

    • The type of insulation in your home.
    • The R-value (rate of thermal resistance) of your insulation. Typically, the higher the R-value, the more effective it is at insulating. Depending on where you live, you do not necessarily need the highest value; it depends on your local climate.
    • The thickness or depth (inches) of the insulation you have.

    In a newer home, the builder can help identify the type of insulation used and where it is located. In an older home, you will need to perform the inspection yourself.

    Attic insulation

    • If the insulation is level with or below the attic floor joists, add more insulation.
    • If the insulation is well above the joists, you probably have enough, and adding more insulation may not be cost-effective.
    • Insulation should be evenly distributed with no low, thin spots throughout the attic.
    • Make sure the insulation in your attic has the appropriate R-value for where you live. Check the value printed on your existing insulation. If you cannot find the value, measure the depth of the insulation in inches.
      • Multiply the depth by the following insulation type: 3.2 for fiberglass batting, for the loose fibers category, multiply by 2.5 for loose fiberglass, 2.8 for rock wool and 3.7 for cellulose. Then check EnergyStar's recommended R-values. If your calculated value is less than the recommended levels for your region, then you should consider adding more insulation to your attic.

    Behind the walls

    • Turn off the power to the outlet before beginning this check. Then use a voltmeter or voltage tester to confirm that there is no power at the socket before beginning work.
    • Remove the outlet cover and shine a flashlight into the crack around the outlet box. You should be able to see if there is insulation in the wall and possibly how thick it is.
    • Pull out a small amount of insulation if needed to help determine the type of insulation.
    • Check outlets on all floors, as well as old and new parts of your home. Just because you find insulation in one wall does not mean that it is uniform throughout your home.

    How to conduct a DIY air leak audit

    Before you repair or install more insulation, you need to identify and repair any potential air leaks:

    • doors, windows
    • sill plates (the bottom piece of wall structure where wall studs are attached)
    • top plates (supportive beams in the ceiling)
    • crawl spaces
    • outdoor faucets
    • dryer vents
    • stove vent fans
    • roof eaves and overhangs 
    • plumbing vent stacks
    • recessed lighting
    • attic hatches
    • air duct registers


    By yourself:

    • One option is to perform a visual inspection in daylight. All potential problem areas should be free from gaps and cracks.
    • While lights are on in the home, observe from the attic, crawlspace, or basement. Anywhere you can see light from the interior of the house is another air leak location in need of repair.

    With a partner:

    • To conduct a more thorough inspection, work with a partner at night and shine a flashlight over all potential gaps while one of you observes the house from the outside. Anywhere you can see light shine through is an air leak that needs to be sealed properly.
    Dig Deeper

    Read more about your home's audit grade at Safe Electricity