Free Energy Audit for Your Home

Free Energy Audit for Your Home

Did you know you can get a free energy audit for your home? Have you had yours yet?

I had mine today. Fabulous experience and.. free gifts!

Duke Energy will come to your home and do a FREE energy audit. Just call Duke Energy to schedule your appointment. I had to wait almost 3 months for mine but it’s no big deal to wait, right?

My audit took less than an hour. The inspector started by sitting at his laptop where my account was already pulled up. He knew my energy usage history. Then he asked questions about our energy needs and habits such as how many people live in the home, what temperature we keep the thermostat in the winter (68*) and what temperature in the summer (74*), do we wash in cold, warm or hot water. (cold)

Then he made a tour of the property beginning in the attic crawl space where he looked at insulation and duct work. He checked the hot water heater for age and efficiency, checked windows, fireplace openings, heat ducts, vents and insulation in the attic as well as under the house. He checked the heating unit for age and efficiency.

When his inspection was complete, he sat down to share his findings and make suggestions. Everything was entered into our account through his computer. Our home has recently been renovated so it’s pretty efficient already. My biggest problem is an open 4′ x 5′ fireplace where our heat is pouring out through the chimney. I will definitely be getting a glass door for that space.

Then, the goodies. Duke Energy sends a box with all sorts of goodies.  First thing out of the box was a  wonderful energy efficient shower head for for our shower. It has adjustable spray and is manufactured by Earth. Best part? It cuts water usage in the shower from as much as 3 gallons per minute down to only 1 1/2 gallons per minute. Sweet!

One of my favorite things in the box was a low flow Kitchen Faucet Aerator. It has swivel and a lever for flow control and produces either a single stream or a spray. Again, reduces water flow from 3 gallons per minute to only 1 1/2 gallons per minute.

Next, a Needle Spray Bathroom Faucet Aerator which reduces flow again to, you guessed it, 1 1/2 gallons per minute. With all of these flow control devices, you still get fantastic water pressure while conserving water and energy. How does it save energy? Your hot water heater doesn’t work as much because you’re using less hot water.

I got a roll of Adhesive-backed Weather stripping which I will probably put around the pull-down door to the attic. There’s some air leakage there. And Switch and Outlet Energy Seals to stop drafts from coming in through the plug outlets. Put your hand by your plug outlets, especially on exterior walls, to see if you feel cold air coming in. I bought a bag of outlet plug covers at the Dollar Store and put them in all of our outlets that don’t have cords in them. You know the kind I mean? The ones you put in when baby proofing your home so children don’t stick their fingers in the plug openings? My kids are grown but I use the covers now to stop any air flow.

And, finally, 3 compact fluorescent light bulbs. We should all be using those by now. He also left a booklet, Energy Savers, Tips on Saving Energy & Money at Home.

Pretty great gift from the energy company, huh? If you don’t live in an area serviced by Duke Energy, check with your energy company to see if they’re offering a similar program.

Have you had an energy audit?

This post has 17 Comments | Would you like to leave a comment?

17 Comments

  1. Kathryn:
    I’m so sorry to hear that!!

    Be sure to contact Duke and let them know. I hope is was just a lousy technician and not their normal audit. Please let us know what they say and if they send a “helpful” auditor out with an apology!

    And thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

  2. My recent Duke energy audit was almost worthless. The auditor who did the walk-through survey asked me very few questions and offered no new revelations for me, in my almost new, but very drafty log home. I was extremely disappointed.

  3. Thanks for leaving your information, Art. You perform a very valuable service, in deed!

    Thanks for helping others save money by saving energy.

  4. I am an independent home energy auditor and although I am not free,but I am very cost effective. It is impossible to do a complete audit without equipment. I have an $8000 infrared camera and a $2800 blower door that gives me data that Duke Energy does not provide. With the camera, I can detect a multitude of problems that are not visible any other way. My customers pay me to come out and inspect their homes (some after the free one is done) and my reviews are excellent. I am BPI certified

  5. Amazing portion of details!

  6. Thanks, Kent! As I said, I was thrilled with the energy audit and the inspector was quite informed and gave me a lot of information. Now I know why!

  7. I just stumbled upon this blog. I just wanted John to know that the Duke energy auditors are BPI certified and some of us are also RESNET certified.

  8. Something a bit generic, what to do to “winterize” now before the cold strikes.

    Thank you!

  9. I would love to, Karen. Just let me know when and what you would like in the post(s), and I will be more than happy to do that for you. I can also be reached at 336-587-8345 if you want to talk in more detail.

    Thanks,

    John

  10. John:

    Thank you for your response!

    Actually, the guy from Duke energy told me much of what you said here. They do offer more in depth analysis and services if you like.

    He actually gave me some really wonderful tips and let me know that the efficiency I would receive would depend upon the amount and quality of work I was interested in.

    I love the weatherstripping for so many things (like my son’s dorm room hall door!) but I certainly understand the limitations it offers.

    I have never heard of battic door or the chimney balloon but I’m checking into those now, for sure! I am ready to buy another glass chimney screen before winter but I maybe getting the chimney balloon instead!

    I would love to have you do a guest post to help people winterize now before the cold hits! Would you be interested?

  11. Karen,

    While I appreciate your enthusiasm for the “energy audit” performed by Duke Energy, I must say that what they are offering is not a true energy audit; it is known as an energy survey or walk through energy analysis. Furthermore, it is not done by an individual certified by either the Building Performance Institute (BPI) or Residential Services Network (RESNET).

    What you received from Duke Energy could have been completed in a couple hours online by yourself with a checklist provided on their website. In other words, their approach to saving you money on your energy costs derives from well-known strategies found all over the internet, and in some sense is pretty remedial and cookie-cutter. I am sure that they were able to point out some valuable things to you though that will save you some money….just don’t expect more than 5-10% at the most.

    A true energy audit is a diagnostic test on the home to analyze anything from the leakage in your duct system (duct blaster), overall leakage in your home (blower door test), infrared analysis to pinpoint exactly where the leaks are occurring, CAZ testing to determine how efficient your gas appliances are running, and an air balancing test to determine why you might have certain rooms that stay colder or warmer than others. In more accurate terms, this type of analysis takes the guesswork out of everything going on in your home. A survey only tells you what is occurring at the surface, which is sort of like reading the preface of a book…and then closing it. It will not tell you necessarily why it is occurring.

    My company, located here in the Greensboro area, performs not only the survey for free but also the diagnostics behind the survey (for charge). My purpose is not to market my business in your blog here, but to create some actual awareness of what services are available out there that the general public is not quite up on as of yet. When dealing with energy issues in the home, it is very important to use a properly certified auditor, if not only for the knowledge base, but also due to a number of safety issues.

    Back to my point about the “cookie cutter” approach the Duke performs: Every home is different, and knowing that, lends you to the concept that not every solution (or product) is right for every home. That is where the value of the diagnostic audit comes in….as I said before, it takes the guesswork out of everything. Most importantly, it provides you with a prioritization schedule of projects that need to be completed in the your home….based strictly upon rate of return on your investment. This way you are able to put a game plan together to knock out any issues you might have on your own time and budget. This priority list also is designed to give you the projects that are going to give you the quickest payback…we normally are aiming for those projects that give you a payback inside of 3 years.

    Once again, the purpose of my post is not to rain on your parade, because I can tell you are somewhat excited over what you received. But, as a building science professional myself, I find a number of misconceptions in the general public that need to be revealed.

    A couple of pointers that might help you:
    1. Throw the weatherstripping that the Duke Energy guy gave you; if you want to properly and effectively block air leakage and radiation through your attic hatch, go to http://www.batticdoor.com. Here you will find a product we use religiously. It not only blocks the air leakage around the perimeter of the hatch, but more importantly, blocks all radiant heat transfer through the door itself.
    2. Do not waste your money on buying a glass insert for your fireplace!!! Go to http://www.chimneyballoon.com and buy one of those….much cheaper and much, much more effective. What it does is block off the air that escapes through the flue….a glass insert will not accomplish this.

    Good luck with the new things you have learned through your survey, and please let me know if I can be of anymore help to you or your readers in the future.

    Best Regards,

    John

  12. Wow, what do you guys think? Never heard of anything like this and can’t imagine it would work! Anyone heard of this before?

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  14. Thank you, Mary, for all the additional information!

    Yes, I hope Piedmont Natural Gas and the other energy companies will offer a similar program. It’s wonderful.

  15. Great article, Karen! Energy audits can run $350-$500, so getting one for free is terrific. For those of us who have gas heat and water heat, maybe Piedmont Natural Gas will step up and offer a similar service.

  16. You can’t beat free!

  17. What a wonderful post. Thank you for the suggestion!

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