Do it yourself home energy audits

Winter is finally here in Cape Town and we seem to be moving on from water saving to energy saving as the cold weathers sets in. At the Market on the Wharf we make every effort to reduce our energy consumption and eliminate unnecessary wastage by our stall holders…especially the food vendors running energy hungry electrical appliances. We thought it might be useful for our readers to take the time to read through this article and hopefully pick up a few tips on how to save electricity over the cold winter months as we do here on the market.

Energy audits are basically going around your house and checking to see if there is any air leakage, insulation problems and looking at your heating and cooling systems.
Getting a professional home energy audit is the best choice, to make sure you know where you are losing energy and how you can save costs. You can also do a simple home energy audit yourself by walking through your house and spotting any problems. This is of course not as thorough as a professional would do but is good enough to spot all the simple problem areas. If you are one of those people who utilize pool heating Cape Town, we recommend that you invest in a solar pool heating system.
Walk through the house
Take a walk through your house and keep a list that shows where you have checked and what problems you have seen. This will help to keep track of what you have to prioritize, what you have fixed and if you need to try other methods to remedy a problem.
Check for any air leaks
This is easy, go around the house checking the windows and other areas for any obvious air leaks or drafts.
•    Windows
•    Gaps under the front and back doors
•    Area around the window mounted air-conditioner
•    Around lighting
•    Flue or chimney shaft
•    Garage and living space walls
After locating all the leaks you can then seal these air leaks. Seal the air leaks with the correct materials such as caulking and weather-stripping. Plugging up any air leaks could save you up to30% on your energy costs.
Insulation Levels
This could be a problem in an older home, so check your insulation levels especially in the ceiling. Heat loss could be quite a lot if the insulation is less than the minimum. Insulation can be done not only in ceilings but also under the floor and inside the walls. This will help to keep cool in summer and warm in winter saving you energy and money. There are a few products available out there including eco-friendly options.
Checking all heating and cooling equipment
All equipment should be checked and maintained to keep everything running at optimal levels. Have a professional come in to check and to clean the equipment at least once every year. Consider changing any old equipment with more energy efficient units. If are able to invest in a solar geyser Cape Town, we strongly advise it. A solar geyser can cut your electricity bill significantly.
Make sure you use your equipment wisely, heating or cooling any areas that are not in use is wasting energy and costing money.
Lighting your home
The energy needed to light your home is about 10% of your total monthly costs. Check to see if you can be more energy efficient in this area by:
•    Replacing old bulbs with more energy efficient  ones such as LED lights
•    Turning off lights in rooms that are not in use
•    Installing controls such as light dimmers to reduce lighting use
•    Install daylighting such as skylights or light tubing to bring in more natural light. This will help prevent using lighting in the day time especially on overcast days.
Other appliances or electronics
Have a look at your appliances and other electronics to see how much energy is being used and then try to see if you can use them more efficiently reducing their energy consumption.
•    Unplug any appliance not in use, such as your computer.
•    Select energy efficient appliances when purchasing
•    Try not to place refrigerators or freezers next to next to the stove or near a window where the sun comes in. Exposed to warmer areas will increase the amount of energy used.
•    Chargers for cell phones and laptops when not in use, but are still plugged in consume energy. Unplug if not in use.
•    Laptops use a lot less energy than a desktop computer.
Professional Home Energy Audit
Once you have done your own energy audit, it is still a good idea to get a professional to come in and do a more thorough assessment. A professional assessment can help you locate areas you missed and bring to light potential areas for saving energy. This will all help you to save money and improve the comfort of your home.

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