CO-Horts Blog

Monday, December 15, 2014

Do It Yourself Home Energy Assessment

Kurt Jones, Chaffee County Extension Director

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire; Jack Frost nipping at your nose…During this season of sharing, maybe you think about giving yourself a gift.  How about a gift that can keep repaying you for years to come!  Did I mention this gift for you is available at no charge?

Many Colorado State University Extension Offices have a new set of tools to loan out to aid you in conducting an audit of energy use (and waste) in your home. Part of our Home Energy Audit Loan program (HEAL), these tools include:
·         thermal leak detector that can help you find air leaks and gaps in insulation; 
·         Kill-a-wattTM power monitor to measure excessive appliance electricity use or find ‘phantom loads’ that use electricity even after the appliance is turned off;
·         ‘flicker checker’ that detects the presence of inefficient magnetic ballasts in long fluorescent tube lighting (commonly found at commercial locations or in shops).

These HEAL program kits can be borrowed for free for up to two weeks (depending on demand). Although the tools can be used individually, results will be even more powerful if used in conjunction with CSU Extension’s online Do-It-Yourself home energy audit worksheets and supporting online videos (

The home energy assessment worksheet is mobile device-friendly, so you can carry the device (smart phone or tablet) around the home as you objectively evaluate the energy efficiency of your home, or you have the option of printing the blank worksheet, conducting your energy evaluation, then completing the online version after your assessment.  Following the evaluation, you can email the results to yourself to help you plan future energy efficiency and weatherization upgrades.

The worksheet will give you an overall score (based on 100 points) for your home, and offer suggestions for improving your energy efficiency.  There are many low-cost or free modifications that may be appropriate for your home, and additional resources for further evaluating the high-cost items such as window replacement or furnace replacement.  While this self-evaluation does not replace a professional home energy audit, it can provide the homeowner with valuable feedback for their homes.

Another program that will be coming up is the Colorado Energy Masters’ program in March and April, 2015.  More information and registration is available at

Other CSU Extension energy resources include decision tools to help you determine if your property is a good candidate for solar or wind energy, fact sheets, and other publications.  Workshops can be scheduled for local groups, organizations, and teachers on energy efficiency, solar, wind, and a standards-based curriculum for Colorado middle and high schools. Visit to learn more.

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