We spend a lot of time on this blog providing advice on green living and how to improve the energy efficiency of your home, but each house is different, and your particular residence may have it own particular inefficiencies that need to be addressed. This begs the question: How a homeowner can go about identifying these flaws and improving the way their house uses heat and electricity?
The best way to do this is to hire an energy consultant and have them perform a home energy audit. There are many steps to the auditing process, but essentially what the contractor will do is look at all areas of your home that can effect the way you consume energy and determine if there are savings to be had. For example, they'll look at your windows to figure out what kind of insulation they're providing. They'll also analyze your plumbing system and water usage to identify potential savings in that area as well.
Many local and state governments provide incentives to homeowners who go through with this process, and some utilities will even offer a discounted auditing program to give customers a low-cost efficiency consultation.
It's true that installing weather-stripping and a programmable thermostat could potentially save your family hundreds of dollars in energy costs every year, but there are many other areas of your energy use that require some level of expertise to detect. A home energy auditor can provide you with that information so that you can stabilize the finances of your household while also helping the environment.