If you are a home or business owner, you may have some energy improvements that you are considering doing yourself. For other projects, you may feel like you don’t have the time, expertise or proper tools to tackle the job, and you may be considering getting a quote and hiring a contractor. (For more information about hiring a contractor, visit the Using a Contractor page.)
Doing A Self-Assessment
You can get a sense of how much potential your building has for energy improvements by using a simple, online tool or doing a self-assessment (related links can be found on the Tools & Resources page.) A "do-it-yourself" energy audit may help you target some of the easier areas to address and may also indicate which projects you may want to discuss with a professional.
This "do-it-yourself" energy audit will not be as thorough as a professional one, but it may help you pinpoint some of the key areas to consider addressing. Keep a checklist of areas you have inspected and issues you found. This list can help you prioritize your energy efficiency upgrades. Do not assume that if your building is recently constructed—or even new—that there are no opportunities to save energy.
Locating Air Leaks
The most critical air leaks typically occur in the basement and attic, because these make a building act like a chimney. Sending conditioned air up to and out of the attic is referred to as the “stack effect.” If you are interested in trying to identify for yourself where air may be leaking in your building, a first step is to make a list of obvious drafts.
There are a number of potential health and safety issues to be aware of before you begin your energy upgrades, which can be addressed with proper planning. You will find related information throughout this site, including the Health & Safety section.
The best approach for “DIY”ers might be to partner with a trained energy professional. For example, a trained energy auditor can run a blower door test, identify priority air-sealing opportunities, train the homeowner on what to do, then return after the work is done to "test out" the improvements with the blower door test. This may provide an opportunity to determine the impact of the work and verify the absence of health and safety issues. Similarly, business owners may first want to consult a qualified energy professional before undertaking any project.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Saver Guide provides more information on DIY home energy savings projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR® webpage provides more information about energy strategies for buildings and plants, including how business owners, facility owners and managers can get started and take action.
Visit the pages below to learn more about Weatherization: