While you are at home and may be concerned about energy usage, you can do a basic energy audit to identify problem areas. You can then make changes to lower your energy usage and in turn, save money!
INSULATION: Proper insulation keeps homes at the desired temperature throughout the year. For Okanogan County, the ideal R-values (insulation measurement) are: attic – R49, floor – R30, walls – R11. You can check the R-value by measuring the depth of the insulation. Wall insulation is more difficult to reach - a licensed electrician may help you by turning the circuit breaker off, removing the outlet and checking for insulation in the wall. Once you have determined the depth of your insulation, use this online calculator to figure the R-value: https://www.lowesforpros.com/l/r-value-insulation-calculators.html.
AIR LEAKS: Make sure all of your windows and exterior doors are closed to prevent a draft. Keep interior doors open. Turn on all air vents – bathroom, stove, etc. Use an incense stick or something similar or a damp hand and check windows and doors for air leaks. Does the smoke move toward the windows, doors, etc.? Can you feel air movement with the damp hand? If so, this is an indication of an air leak. Seal any leaks with caulk or weather stripping. Check ductwork for leaks, too, and seal with professional-grade masking tape.
HVAC: Heating and cooling is the No. 1 consumer of energy in homes. Replace filters as needed and have your system checked annually to make sure that it’s running at peak efficiency. Systems more than 15 years old may need to be upgraded to a more energy-efficient system.
WATER HEATER: These are No. 2 on the list for energy usage in homes. Keep your thermostat set at 120 degrees or less. If your water heater is continually running, it could be that an element has burned out, and it will use more energy.
LIGHTING: Upgrade bulbs to LED. Installing controls such as dimmers or timers can also save energy.
MANUFACTURED HOMES: Check under the belly of the home. Critters can get underneath and loosen pipes and tear out insulation. Repair damage to save energy.
The Okanogan PUD receives incentive funds from Bonneville Power Administration for insulation, windows, doors and ductless heat pumps. For more information, visit the PUD webpage, https://www.okanoganpud.org/energy-services/programs, or contact Kim Johnson in Energy Services at 509-422-8428 or email@example.com.