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We have a newly built home but I'm not at all confident in the builder's prowess when it comes to energy conservation. Is it worth hiring someone (like our energy provider or other specialized contractor) to do an energy audit? Or do you think they would most likely find something whether or not there was a problem so they can charge us more for the fix?

If no energy audit, does anyone have any tips for the best ways to look for these "leaks" myself?

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I think the title is fine. It is concise and made it obvious to me what the question would be about. –  Vebjorn Ljosa Jul 22 '10 at 14:44
    
I like the improved title much better! Thank you! –  dilbert789 Jul 22 '10 at 17:02
    
They are called "questions" after all :) –  Karim Jul 22 '10 at 21:08

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

A lot of utility providers will provide a basic home energy audit for free. If this is the case, it's a no-brainer.

If they don't provide an actual audit, then they often provide statistics for what an average home should be consuming, so you can assess if you think you're using too much.

Besides for that, you can check for drafts or cracks in windows and doors yourself as a basic audit.

After that, I've found just be living in my home, I can tell if a room is too hot or cold compared to the rest of the house, and then look for problems then.

With all that said, I think that you should take a long view. If you have no free audit options, and you can find an affordable paid service, it'll most likely be worth it in the long run.

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Here is another alternative that you may want to look into. Microsoft Holm. It is a web site designed to help people monitor and improve energy performance. They have interfaces with some utility companies, and you can buy a device to monitor your usage and send it back to the service. Ir you can enter it manually. Pretty slick.

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FYI, Microsoft has discontinued their Holm product. –  Henry Jackson Dec 28 '12 at 1:26

Lowe's has a thermal leak detector for $40. I've never used one, so I can't give you an idea of how well they work, but the Amazon rating for this one is 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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You can hire a company to scan your house with an infra-red camera. I've never hired one so I'm not sure of the expense but they'll go around your house with the camera and see where cool (or hot) air is escaping and give you report about it. I'm sure it's a few hundred dollars to get it done but it might be worth it if you think you have some major leaks.

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