One of the first steps to building energy-efficient homes is to evaluate the home's current energy efficiency to determine which upgrades are best to make. While there are certainly many contractors who will do a good job of this for you, checking your home's energy efficiency is a task you can tackle on your own by following these steps.
Step 1: Locate air leaks.
Close all of your windows, exterior doors and vents. Open the interior doors, and turn on your exhaust fans. Then, light some incense and pass it along the door frames, hatches and vents. If smoke is blown into the room, you have located a leak.
Step 2: Look over your windows.
Try to find a sticker or receipt for the windows. If it says "NFRC" on it, you know your windows have been approved by an organization that regulates window efficiency. Look for a U-Factor number, which should be between 0.15 nd 1.20. The higher it is, the more energy you're losing through your windows. Replacing windows could save you a lot on energy.
Step 3: Check your insulation.
If you don't have enough insulation, you'll be losing a lot of energy through the ceiling. Use an online calculator to determine how much insulation yoiur home should have, based on your area's temperatures and home design. Then, measure the thickness of your insulation with a ruler. If you find you're short on insulation, it's time to have more installed or have it replaced with more efficient spray foam insulation.
If your home's efficiency is not what it should be, visit NCFI to find a contractor in your work area who speciailizes in building energy-efficient homes with spray foam.