By Hannah Kerns
In the United States, most households could benefit from conserving energy. By reducing energy use they also reduce greenhouse emissions and positively impact the environment. Families will also see the positive impact of their actions in terms of their finances. On average, people can save almost $2,000 annually on the energy that they spend in their homes. In households that actively take steps to be more energy-efficient, energy bills may be as much as 40 percent lower than other homes. The impact that energy has on a typical family's finances is often a motivating factor in the decision to develop a plan to conserve energy.
In order to develop the most effective plan, it must first be determined what areas in the house are using excess energy. To accomplish this, an inspection of the home is necessary. When checking the house for areas of energy loss, start by closing off all windows, doors or anything that leads outside of the home. Shut off water heaters and gas appliances, and then turn on the exhaust fans and floor and window fans. To test for drafts, a person may use a dampened hand, a lit incense stick or a lit candle. In each room, hold the damp hand, candle or incense up to cracks, baseboards, outlets, attic hatches, doors, windows, and room corners. If there is a draft, it will make a damp hand feel cold. When using incense or a candle, a draft will cause the smoke to move. Once these draft areas have been identified, create a list of which areas are the most inefficient and the most costly in terms of energy lost. To make energy improvements, start at the top of the list and work down.