A 60-minute Home Energy House Call was all it took for me to start down the path to some serious cash savings.
By following the recommendations from the Duke Energy expert who visited, my home is already more comfortable and my bill is destined to shrink. The free in-house energy assessment program, a $180 value, is offered to eligible homeowners and helps people understand home energy use and how to save money.
Here’s how it works.
After scheduling my assessment, I was given a two-hour arrival window. I received a follow-up confirmation call the day before and a call from my energy expert when he was 15 minutes away.
Rodrigo Novoa greeted me with a warm smile and his Duke Energy ID. Donning protective shoe covers upon entering my home, he joined me at my kitchen table and provided an overview of the process.
Novoa politely asked questions about my energy use, inquiring about the furnace and air conditioning, water heater, washer and dryer, and other appliances. He checked for air leaks around windows and doors, inspected the crawl space and attic and conducted a brief room-by-room walkthrough. He made certain I knew he would inspect only the rooms I was comfortable allowing him in.
We discussed the home’s square footage, whether appliances such as my range, oven and water heater were natural gas or electric and thermostat and hot water settings. My tankless water heater was set at the recommended 120 degrees, verified by Novoa when checking it at the tap.
He reviewed insulation levels in my attic and crawl space, my heating and cooling system efficiency and filtration, and energy efficiency of my appliances.
The attic inspection revealed both good and bad news. While my insulation level was adequate, Novoa showed me how my attic entry was poorly sealed, allowing heat to escape like an open window. He suggested an attic tent as an inexpensive and effective solution. (They’re available at home improvement stores.)
Novoa emphasized any projected savings from recommendations are simply estimates, given the many variables.
“I always suggest people try recommendations out for a month or two and look at their bill to determine what their actual savings are,” Novoa said.
He showed me a booklet in my kit detailing estimated monthly costs for appliances based on wattage, size and use.
I have an electronic air filter where the fan is always on, for example. Novoa pointed out the estimated monthly 28.8 kilowatt usage represented about $3.46 monthly and suggested I set my fan on auto instead.
Other helpful items in the free kit are weatherstripping, electric switch and outlet insulating sealers, LED lightbulbs, high efficiency shower, bathroom and kitchen faucet heads that Novoa offered to install. The kit also has an Energy Saver Guide.
Novoa took notes on a tablet during the audit. He generated a summary of his findings and recommendations which he reviewed and emailed to me. Getting control of air leakage, tenting my attic opening, setting my fan on auto and researching a new furnace topped his recommendations.
I knew opportunities for savings existed before my Home Energy House Call, and now I have a road map for success.
A free Home Energy House Call is available to eligible Duke Energy customers except in Florida. More information: duke-energy.com/dingdong or 844.DING.DONG. A free Home Energy Check is available to eligible Florida customers. More information: 877.574.0340.
4 energy-saving programs
Knowledge is power, or to paraphrase in this case, knowledge can mean using less power. So when you are able to combine the two, it’s a win-win. Along with Home Energy House Call, here are other Duke Energy programs that can save money and energy. In 2016 alone, these programs have helped customers save $500 million. Check duke-energy.com to see which programs are available in your state.
Home Energy Check (Florida)
Customers receive a free evaluation of a home's energy efficiency. Upon completion, they receive a report showing energy use, a free energy efficiency kit, no‐ and low‐cost tips that you can use right away to improve energy efficiency and expert recommendations for home improvements that will save energy and add value to your home.
Residential Smart Saver
This program offers rebates to customers who maintain or upgrade their home heating and air conditioning units, who insulate attics and ductwork or add high-efficiency lighting. Rebate programs make homes more comfortable by improving air quality, fix uneven temperature spots and make sure equipment is running efficiently.
Home Energy Interactive
My Home Energy Interactive is a website that offers money-saving initiatives while helping to understand energy use and ways to conserve. The program allows customers to set energy-saving goals and review progress. Track your energy use and identify inefficiencies in your home and get advice by asking an energy advisor. Learn more ways to save with personalized energy-saving tips. The website is a companion to the printed and mailed My Home Energy Report (see below). Both compare your home’s energy use over time, and to similar homes in your area.
My Home Energy Report
MyHER is a personalized mailer that compares your home’s energy use to your neighbors’. It’s also full of energy tips. For customers who have wondered, "OK, but how much would that save me,” here are your answers. Each tip shows how much money a home is likely to save. Along with Home Energy Interactive, this provides an encompassing personal look at how to save money and energy.