Reduce Your Home Energy Bills ( Solar Thermal Magazine)
Whether you are currently in the cold dead of winter or the heat of summer, opportunities to save on energy spending for your home are relatively easy to find. If you have access to a thermal imaging camera or even a point and shoot temperature gun you can quickly find where these opportunities are, if your heating or cooling system is required at the time. If it is spring or early fall and you have no demand for heat or cooling then it is the wrong time to use these remote sensing type of detectors.
However, you do not absolutely need a thermal scan to get started saving energy and reducing your energy bills. You can start right now from this list.
When it comes to building design and materials there are a few things that always jump out of any energy audit or analysis.
Here are the top 7 things to look for if you don’t have a thermal camera.
1 – Single pane window. This should be replaced with double or even triple pane windows depending on your budget.
2- Window leaks. Sealing and caulking along a window edge ( both inside and out) can make a big difference.
3- Poor wall insulation. This is hard to fix in an existing house and very expensive.
4- Poor Ceiling insulation. If you attic insulation is not adequate you can lose a lot of energy. Remember heat rises so this can be a large exit point for the energy you paid for. This is much easier to fix than wall insulation. Adding additional layers of fiberglass insulation over what you already have is a good way to go. This can be hot work if you start it in the summer so keep this in mind when planning the project.
5- Door seals. These are easily replaced.
6- An old or inefficient water heater. In many cases replacing your old water heater with a new efficient unit is very cost effective with your investment being paid for in less than a few years. Optionally you can buy water heater and pipe insulation that you add to your water heater tank and the hot water lines. Pretty simple stuff right.
7- Programmable thermostat. This will not show up on a thermal scan unless you keep the camera on the house all day. Old thermostats have only one setting which keeps the house at that temperature all day regardless of who is home or which rooms are in use. New programmable thermostats, allow homeowners to set temperature through out a 24 hr and even 7 day schedule that matches your lifestyle and only uses energy when you say it is needed. This can save a lot of energy regardless how well sealed and insulated.
So, yes you can do a thermal imaging scan of your house and you will see exactly where the leaks are. The fixes are for the most part one of the 7 we have listed above. This video from the Wall Street Journal a few years ago highlights the latest remote thermal scanning technology being developed by MIT.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.