TULSA - From duct work to windows, there are many things we can do as a
homeowner to make our home more energy efficient.
But with so many options it's hard to know what will get the
most bang for your buck.
Robert Martin has lived in the same house in West Tulsa for 30
years. In that time, the kitchen is about the only major renovation
Now he's starting to notice some changes, in the form of
"Compared to people I know who have built new homes or live in
newer homes... my bills seem high to me." said Martin.
In an effort to reduce his energy bills, Martin hired John Abdo
Consultants to conduct a home energy audit.
"One of the things we're going to do is find out where the house
is losing energy." explained Abdo.
Using specialized tools, Abdo begins the energy audit by
depressurizing the house using a large fan.
"It's pulling air out of the house and therefore pulling air
through the leaks that are there so we can see them better." said
Then, using infrared cameras and a tool Abdo called a smoke
pencil, he was able to find several air leaks throughout the
Adbo mentioned most homes lose energy around pipes in the
kitchen and bathroom. He suggests spray foam and calking to
alleviate air leaks.
Light switches are also a common energy loss area; again,
calking and child safety plugs are a quick and cheap fix.
"All the air leaks around piping, electrical wiring, through
light switches, all of these together can equal a window that's
open all the time" said Abdo.
PSO is offering a new program that will help pay for some
energy saving home improvements.
"The customer does pay for the energy audit up front and based
off recommendations given back in report they can receive
incentives on things like insulation, cfls, hot water tank wraps"
explained Lisa Puyear, of PSO's Energy Efficiency Program.
To learn more about the program offered through PSO
Pro Energy Consultants charges a flat rate of $129 to do the
energy audit, then charges based on the homes square footage. PSO
has a list on its website of several area
that do this type of service.
If a home energy audit is not within your budget there are ways
to find some air leaks yourself.
First, look at areas where different materials meet, such as
between brick and wood siding, between foundation and walls, and
between the chimney and siding. Also inspect around the following
areas for any cracks and gaps that could cause air leaks:
Door and window frames
Electrical and gas service entrances
Cable TV and phone lines
Outdoor water faucets
Where dryer vents pass through walls
Bricks, siding, stucco, and foundation
Vents and fans
How to detect an air leak for free:
Shining a flashlight at night over all potential gaps while a
partner observes the house from outside. Large cracks will show up
as rays of light. Not a good way to detect small cracks.
Shutting a door or window on a piece of paper. If you can pull
the paper out without tearing it, you're losing energy.
Additional home repairs experts say can save
Check for open fireplace dampers
Install an inflatable fireplace damper balloon when fireplace
is not in use
Install an attic fan cover when not in use
Install foam gaskets behind switch plates and electrical
Install electrical outlet child protector caps to slow air
leaks through slots
Use foam sealant around large plumbing and electrical
Caulking around window/door trim
Pay attention to home lighting habits, especially high
Adjust hot water tank temperature to lowest reasonable
Use shades, blinds, tinting on East and West facing
Plant shade trees on East and West sides of home
Check window/door weather stripping and replace if