Save Hundreds of Dollars on Your Electric Bill With a Free Home Energy Audit

by Hank Coleman

Normally, an in home energy audit can cost $300 or more from many vendors, but now many electric companies from around the country are offering free energy audits to their customers.  Progressive Energy offers its customers in North Carolina and Florida an audit which they call a “Home Energy Check“, and Georgia Power offers its customers a free Energy Audit.  You can click on the links above on how to schedule an in home visit from a representative of the energy companies. 

Home Energy SavingsAn energy audit assesses how much energy your home consumes and evaluates what steps you can take to make your home more energy efficient.  An audit will show you problem areas of your home that can save you significant amounts of money over time when the problems are corrected.  During the energy audit which is performed by an expert or a technician from your electric company can pinpoint where your house is losing energy, either heat or cool air.  Audits also determine the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems and can show you ways to conserve hot water and electricity.

Some Audit Tips.  Drafts are some of the largest culprits of energy losses.  Reducing drafts in a home can save you up to 30% of your energy costs per year.  Check for indoor air leaks, such as gaps along the baseboard or edge of the flooring and at junctures of the walls and ceiling.  Some of the biggest culprit of energy loss comes from electrical outlets, switch plates, window frames, baseboards, weather stripping around doors, fireplace dampers, attic hatches, and wall or window-mounted air conditioners.

Small Changes.  Just a few small changes in your household routines can add up over the year to big savings on your utility bills.  Clean or change the air filters of your HVAC system monthly.  Dirty air filters can increase operating costs by 20%.  Keep your AC thermostat switched to the “auto” position when cooling.  Having the fan switch “on” continuously could cost up to $25 extra a month on your electric bill.

There are tons of tips out there to help you save on your electric bill from where to plant trees in your yard, adding a programmable thermostat, and adding an insulated blanket to your hot water heater.  Got another tip to share that I didn’t include?  Leave a comment below….

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Mark D. Tyrol, P.E. December 16, 2008 at 7:30 pm

How To Reduce Your Energy Bills / Energy Conservation Begins at Home

Imagine leaving a window open all winter long — the heat loss, cold drafts and wasted energy! If your home has a folding attic stair, a whole house fan or AC Return, a fireplace or a clothes dryer, that may be just what is occurring in your home every day.

These often overlooked sources of heat loss and air leakage can cause heat to pour out and the cold outside air to rush in — costing you higher heating bills.

Air leaks are the largest source of heating and cooling loss in the home. Air leaks occur through the small cracks around doors, windows, pipes, etc. Most homeowners are well aware of the benefits caulk and weatherstripping provide to minimize heat loss and cold drafts.

But what can you do about the four largest “holes” in your home — the folding attic stair, the whole house fan or AC return, the fireplace, and the clothes dryer? Here are some tips and techniques that can easily, quickly and inexpensively seal and insulate these holes.

Attic Stairs

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add an attic stair cover. An attic stair cover provides an air seal, reducing the air leaks. Add the desired amount of insulation over the cover to restore the insulation removed from the ceiling.

Whole House Fans and AC Returns

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a whole house fan cover. Installed from the attic side, the whole house fan cover is invisible. Cover the fan to reduce heating and air-conditioning loss, remove it when use of the fan is desired.


A recent study showed that for many consumers, their heating bills may be more than $500 higher per winter due to the air leakage and wasted energy caused by fireplaces.

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a fireplace draftstopper. Available from Battic Door, a company known for their energy conservation products, a fireplace draftstopper is an inflatable pillow that seals the damper, eliminating any air leaks. The pillow is removed whenever the fireplace is used, then reinserted after.

Clothes Dryer Exhaust Ducts

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a dryer vent seal. This will reduce unwanted air infiltration, and keep out pests, bees and rodents as well. The vent will remain closed unless the dryer is in use. When the dryer is in use, a floating shuttle rises to allow warm air, lint and moisture to escape.

If your home has a folding attic stair, a whole house fan, an AC return, a fireplace, and/or a clothes dryer, you can easily, quickly and inexpensively seal and insulate these holes.

Mark D. Tyrol is a Professional Engineer specializing in cause and origin of construction defects. He developed several residential energy conservation products including an attic stair cover, an attic access door, and is the U.S. distributor of the fireplace draftstopper. To learn more visit

Mike January 19, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Good post. Check out an introduction to a more comprehensive audit at And remember, audit don’t save any energy or make you more comfortable. To see the benefits, you have to make the improvements (and make sure they are installed properly!)


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