Energy efficient 'heat audit' can save you money

Nina Pineda has 7 On Your Side.
Seven On Your Side
January 23, 2014 5:06:39 PM PST
When you think audit, you think taxes, the IRS, and you might start reaching for your check book.

But here's one kind of audit that won't leave you cold and may actually wind up saving you big bucks.

In a home like this you're going to save about a hundred dollars a month on average," said Rashid Burney, an energy efficiency expert.

Rashid Burney is New Jersey's resident heat miser.

The energy efficiency expert comes armed to the teeth.

His infra-red gun showed a lot of air leakage coming into the house.

It's all part of a $49 "heat audit." Everywhere the screen shows blue means you are losing green.

"We're losing a ton of energy in this room," Burney said.

First, there are some easy fixes like closing the chimney flue.

Winterize your windows using plastic window insulation.

"For $15 all these windows can be done easily," Burney said.

And seal off cracks by using a door sweep, weather stripping, and for apartments, keep the heat in with an air conditioning and vent covers.

"You might see some areas that are a little bit more comfortable, but it won't change your bill," Burney said.

For bigger savings they find bigger problems like behind an outlet.

"What this tells me is this wall has no insulation," Burney said.

That explains why the temperature on the wall is below 58 degrees.

What a heating audit will also tell you is where work may have been done improperly in your home.

Here, insulation was installed the right way, and over here it's missing.

It tells you the temperature difference down to the degree.

In the kitchen, there are huge gaps in ceiling insulation.

Then, using a smoke stick, cold air pours through a crack.

And a sunroom lighting fixture is so un-insulated a blast of cold air from the outside blows the smoke stick out.

And how much does all this cost in heating and cooling expenses?

"We're talking hundreds of dollars and in a big house like this. It could be almost a thousand dollars a year," Burney said.

Projects pay for themselves over the years, plus in the tri-state area, there are programs like energy grants which pay you half the cost of your project up to $5,000.

There are financing options of 0% or very low interest loans.

And you can get straight up cash back for upgrading your home.