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News9 Special Assignment: In-home energy audit

Updated: Thursday, May 8 2014, 06:30 PM EDT

WTOV9.com
A long, cold winter led to high energy bills. But could they have been lowered?
News9's Erica Mokay did a little digging to try to find some ways to cut back. What she found was the AEP In-Home Energy Audit and a lot of savings.
 "Anytime you can save money, it's worth it," said Brian Trikones, a local homeowner who recently had an energy audit done to his house. It's a house he's been living in since the 70s.
Over the years, he's seen his electric bill go up, but when it peaked at $250 this winter, Trikones decided it was time to take action and call in the professionals.
"Energy efficiency in the home goes hand in hand with comfort," AEP Energy Auditor Andy Kuss said.
That's day-to-day comfort and comfort for your wallet. An in-home energy audit could save you a lot of money.
"It was very thorough," Trikones said. "Every aspect of the home was considered. So I think it was a very informative audit."
Here's how it works: An energy auditor comes into your home and looks at all the cracks and crevices. A blower door test measures the leakiness of the home. It's a test to make sure your cash isn't blowing right out the front door.
Then the auditor takes the process to new heights -- and places in your home you may not have seen in years -- like the attic.
In this particular home, Kuss noted insulation is pushed aside and piled in various places. He was looking to make sure the home's insulation was up to standard.
Then he looked beyond the paint and plaster with an infrared camera checks to see where heat is escaping.
All the while, information was being plugged into auditing software to calculate your potential savings.
Based on the recommendations, in a year, Trikones could save around $835 in energy costs.
Simply replacing light bulbs with LED or high-efficiency bulbs is a major savor. For Trikones, that's $172 back in his wallet.
There are other things you can do in order to see instant savings. You know that old extra refrigerator you barely use?
"I actually just got a call the other day from a home owner in our program." Kuss said. "She was thanking me. She said, 'I unplugged my refrigerator that I had in my basement and I immediately saw $20 savings on my bill.' "
Some suggested upgrades like a heat pump or insulation can be a bit of an investment, but when it comes down to it, any home can benefit from weatherization and ultimately reduce those high bills.
"It's a lot of expense just going out through places not properly insulated," Trikones said.
Said Kuss: "After you get that return on your investment, it's just money in your pocket."
The AEP in-home energy audit will run you $50.
This particular audit was for an all-electric home, and it took about 4 hours. If your home runs on gas, the audit isn't as intense.
But you do get up to 12 LED light bulbs and a low-flow showerhead when you get an in-home energy audit.
The following are the contact numbers and costs from local electric companies:
AEP: 1-877-856-2454 ($50 charge)
Carroll Electric Cooperative: 1-800-232-7697 ($150 charge)
South Central Power: 1-800-282-5064 (ask for an energy advisor -- free of charge. About a 1-hour walk through).

Mon Power does not offer this service.

News9 Special Assignment: In-home energy audit


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