Home Energy Audits: How to DIY

Though a professional energy audit is the best way to determine how much energy your home is using (and wasting), San Jacinto homeowners can still conduct their own audit to find any problem areas and make the appropriate repairs. Below, we’ve laid out a simple checklist of steps to take to conduct your own DIY home energy audit.

DIY Home Energy Audit Checklist

Do you know how much energy you use at home? A simple but diligent audit of your home energy usage can help you identify areas for improvement as well as cut costs throughout the year. We’ve put together a simple checklist of common problem areas that you can check for energy loss during your DIY home energy audit:

Locate air leaks.

Air leaks are the first thing you should check for during your energy audit. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save between 10 and 20% of home energy usage by reducing drafts in your house. Not to mention, it creates a more comfortable home environment for you and your family.

Look for any gaps or cracks on the edge of your flooring as well as where the walls and ceiling meet. You should also look for leaks around windows, doors, lighting and plumbing fixtures, and electrical outlets. Once you locate leaks, plug or caulk the cracks and holes to seal the leaks.

Check insulation.

Without proper insulation, homeowners can lose a lot of heat through the walls and ceiling. Your home’s insulation may not be up to today’s standards, especially if the house is older. That’s why it is important to check for adequate insulation during your DIY home energy audit.

Start by looking in the attic to ensure that any openings around pipes and ductwork are sealed properly. Ensure that the attic vents are not blocked by any insulation, and check to see that the entire attic floor is covered with the recommended amount of insulation.

Inspect heating and cooling equipment.

In addition to changing your air filter regularly, you should also have your heating and cooling equipment inspected by a professional at least once a year. During your annual HVAC tune-up, your technician will make sure that the system is clean and running smoothly. He or she will also check for any worn or broken parts and make any necessary repairs. This helps ensure that your system is running as efficiently as possible.

If your unit is over 15 years old, then you might want to consider replacing it with a more energy-efficient model. If you need to schedule your annual maintenance appointment or find out about your HVAC system upgrade options, give us a call today: (951) 663-4895.

Review lighting choices.

Lighting can account for about 10% of your electric bill, which is why it’s important to review the lighting choices that you’ve made in your home. Replace older, more inefficient bulbs with energy-saving incandescent bulbs or LEDs. When you purchase new bulbs, make sure to pay attention to the brightness.

If you find that your lighting use is contributing to your high energy bill, work on changing your habits by turning off lights in unoccupied rooms. In addition to changing your habits, you can also use sensors, dimmers, and timers to reduce lighting use throughout the year.

Examine appliance and electronics usage.

The last factor that you need to consider in your home energy audit is your use of appliances and electronics. Which appliances and electronics you have and how you use them can have a significant impact on your monthly energy costs. Take note of which appliances and electronics you use on a daily basis. Then, use this appliance energy calculator from to estimate how much energy they use.

Once you’ve determined how much energy you use through appliance and electronics usage, work on saving more energy by making simple changes to your habits. This can include unplugging an appliance when it is not in use or changing the settings on your electronics to energy-savings mode. You may also want to consider purchasing more energy-efficient appliances to reduce more energy over time.

Do you like reading about energy efficiency? Check back on our blog each month for more helpful tips on how to save energy and lower your monthly bills.

5 Go-To Resources About Going Green

More and more homeowners are recognizing the benefits of green living. Whether you want to reduce your impact on the environment and leave a better future for your family or you need to find more ways to reduce energy usage to save on monthly costs, there are so many benefits of going green. Not only can this help you create a healthier home environment, but it may also help you save a little on monthly energy costs.

One of the biggest issues that homeowners face when trying to be more environmentally-friendly is educating themselves on the best ways to save energy and reduce their environmental impact. That’s why we have put together a list of our favorite resources to help San Jacinto homeowners go green.

How to Go Green: Our Top Resources

Our team is always looking for ways to stay up-to-date with the latest in energy efficiency. Here are just a few of our favorite resources:

The U.S. Department of Energy’s mission is to “ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions. One of the ways that this department helps homeowners learn more about energy efficiency is through the helpful articles and infographics on their site. The Energy Saver section of the website offers simple and actionable tips that homeowners can take to reduce their energy usage and lower monthly costs.

Sustainable Baby Steps

Many homeowners want to live more sustainably, but don’t know where to start. Sustainable Baby Steps is a site dedicated to helping beginners start their journey toward more sustainable living. The site offers informative articles on a range of topics such as home, garden, health, and shopping. This is a great site for those who want to live more sustainably but are not sure where to start. The articles offers some small and simple steps that you can take to get started.

Real Simple Green Living is the online platform for Real Simple magazine, a publication that provides smart and realistic solutions for everyday challenges as well as inspiring ideas to make your life easier. The site has a Green Living section that contains a wealth of informative articles that offer simple and actionable tips for going green. From articles on how to create DIY natural cleaners to fun pieces about individuals living in tiny homes, this site contains a lot of great content for any homeowner who is looking for more information on living sustainably or tips on how to make it happen.

J & M Air Conditioning and Heating Blog

We have included our blog on this resource list because we often publish articles on energy efficiency. Though we are an HVAC company, our articles go beyond just providing ways to save money on HVAC energy costs. Some of our articles, such as Home Energy Audits: How to DIY, help homeowners discover new ways to improve efficiency and save on their monthly energy costs.

Are These Things Holding You Back from Lowering Your HVAC Costs?

Have you ever heard the phrase, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”? Well, when it comes to HVAC system health and efficiently, this is just not the case. Sometimes you may think that the way you are running your HVAC system is increasing efficiency when in reality it is doing just the opposite. Below, we’ll discuss some things that you may be doing that actually hold you back from lowering your HVAC costs.

Common HVAC Mistakes That May be Costing You

No one wants to waste money. That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the most common HVAC mistakes that homeowners make and how you can avoid them:

Setting your thermostat to fan-on mode.

Some homeowners may think that setting their thermostat to the “fan-on” position instead of “auto” will make their home more comfortable throughout the day. However, this can actually cause a lot of trouble in your home. When there is humidity in the air, this may cause the perfect breeding ground for mold, especially if you have an oversized AC unit. Not only can mold be costly to remedy, but it can also have a significant impact on your family’s health.

In addition, your energy bills will be higher because you fan is constantly running instead of just turning on when it needs to bring the temperature up or down. Leaving your fan on all of the time can also increase duct leakage, which can then lead to an increase of air leakage across your home. To avoid these issues and the possibility of increased HVAC costs, set your thermostat to “auto,” and allow your cooling system to determine when it needs to run.

Closing or blocking air vents.

Some homeowners are under the assumption that closing air vents in unused rooms will help them save energy and lower their HVAC costs. In reality, closing air vents does just the opposite. When you close air vents in certain rooms, this offsets your home’s airflow, which will cause your HVAC system to work harder than it should to keep your home a comfortable temperature. This decreases efficiency, and ultimately, raises your heating and cooling costs.

Another common HVAC issue that homeowners face is blocking air vents. Air return vents may not be the most attractive element of your home. However, hiding these vents behind furniture or curtains can mess with your air flow and drive your HVAC costs up. If your HVAC system does not get proper airflow, this can decrease efficiency. Homeowners should always keep air vents uncovered and clean to promote an efficient and healthy HVAC system.

Using the most efficient air filter.

Most homeowners want to provide the healthiest home environment for their families. Buying the least expensive air filter may result in poor indoor air quality, so some individuals opt for more efficient air filters with higher MERV ratings. The issue here is that air filters that are extremely efficient are typically very thick and they can cause too much of a drag in air flow. The standard residential HVAC system was not designed to use these types of filters, especially the older units, and using these filters can cause a decrease in overall efficiency as well as additional wear and tear to the unit.

Instead of buying the most efficient air filter possible, do some research and read the HVAC manual to find the right type of air filter for your system. If you are concerned about indoor air quality or have family members with weakened immune systems, contact an HVAC professional to discuss your options for upgrading your air filter.

Looking for more ways to save on HVAC costs? We would love to help! Call us today for more information about our energy-saving HVAC systems and programmable thermostats from Carrier: (951) 663-4895.

J&M’s Best Tips for Saving Energy

Most homeowners are continuously on the lookout for ways to save money. One of the best ways to decrease overall household costs is to reduce energy usage. However, this is often easier said than done. That’s why we have dug deep into our blog archives to bring you some of our best energy-saving tips for San Jacinto homeowners.

Best Articles for Saving Energy in San Jacinto

We know how important it is for homeowners to find new and simple ways to save energy in their homes. Below are some of our best blog posts for helping you do just that:

Why You Shouldn’t Close Vents in Unused Rooms

There is a false assumption out there that closing the air vents in unused rooms helps save energy and reduce energy costs. The truth is that this can actually cause damage to your heating and cooling system, which leaves homeowners with costly repair bills. If someone you know closes their AC vents to save energy, share this article with them today!

Tips on HVAC Efficiency

Who couldn’t use a few tips for improving their HVAC efficiency? This article talks a little bit about what measures you can take to ensure that your HVAC system is running smoothly and efficiently year-round. For even more tips, check out our article, “How to Use HVAC System Efficiently.” With all of these great energy-saving tips, you’ll be on your way to cutting down on heating and cooling costs in no time.

Energy Savings on Vacation

Though saving energy may be the last thing on your mind as you head out the door for vacation, it is important to be conscious of how much energy you are using (and paying for!) when you’re not even home. This article offers effective and actionable tips that you can use to save energy while you are away. Bookmark this article for the next time you leave home for an extended period of time or share this with a friend who is going on vacation soon.

DIY Home Energy Audit

One of the best ways to prevent energy waste and unnecessary spending is a home energy audit. This article offers a step-by-step plan for conducting your own DIY home energy audit. It also provides more information about professional home energy audits. If you’re tired of wasting precious energy, you might want to read this asap!

3 Things to Consider When Upgrading Your Thermostat

Have you been thinking about upgrading to a smart or programmable thermostat? This blog post can better help you prepare for the big upgrade. Though many homeowners may not realize it, your choice of thermostat plays a big role in how you can monitor energy usage and work to conserve more energy on a regular basis. Read this post to find out more about how a thermostat could help you cut down on energy costs.

Want to learn more about other aspects of HVAC, home improvement, and energy efficiency? Be sure to check out the rest of our blog (updated monthly), and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Save Money this Holiday Season with Our Top Energy-Saving Tips

The holidays are fast approaching, and this time of the year is one of high energy use. Whether you’re turning on your heat more often, baking up a storm, entertaining family and guests at your home, or even just putting up holiday lights, there is a good chance that your energy usage will increase during this time of the year. However, the good news is that there are plenty of ways that you can work to reduce your energy costs this holiday season.

3 Energy-Saving Tips for the Holidays

Here are a few ways that you can cut back on your energy use this holiday season and lower your energy bills:

  1. Use LED holiday lights or non-lighted decorations.

A cheerfully decorated home is one of the first signs that the holidays are here. One way to save energy this holiday season is to use décor that does not require electricity such as tinsel or garland. If you can’t imagine the holidays without the colorful lights, consider using LED holiday lights. LED holiday lights use up to 90% less energy than traditional holiday lights. These are a great alternative to less energy efficient holiday lights, and they can be used both inside and outside the home.

  1. Drop the temperature on your thermostat.

The higher you set the thermostat, the higher your energy costs will soar. Though you want keep your family warm and comfortable during the holidays, there are ways to do this without breaking the bank. Try bundling up by putting on an extra sweater or sharing a blanket with a loved one. Perhaps spend some time outdoors around the fire. Don’t forget to adjust your thermostat when leaving the house to save energy while you’re away. A programmable thermostat is a great choice for those who want to be able to control the temperature while away.

  1. Avoid using inflatable lawn ornaments.

It seems that inflatable snowmen, penguins, and reindeer are all the rage during the holiday season. Though these lawn decorations might be cute, they are certainly draining your bank account if you leave them inflated on a regular basis. Instead, opt for lawn decorations that don’t need to be plugged in. They can look just as nice without using any energy. If you must have your inflatable Santa Claus, make sure to unplug it during off hours or only plug it in when you will be outside to enjoy it. This can help you cut down on the energy you use to inflate your holiday lawn decorations.

Want to save money on energy costs year-round? We would love to help you find the right energy efficient HVAC system for your home comfort needs. Call us today at (951) 663-4895.