These are the tools and products that I personally use and have found to be invaluable in my quest to create the most efficient home that I can. I’ve also included products that, if I don’t have, would be my choice if I needed one.
Home Efficiency Audit Tools
Before you go on a quest to improve the energy efficiency of your home, it’s smart to take an assessment of where your problems are.
I’ve written a complete guide on conducting your own free home energy audit. I’ve also included a handy worksheet that you can use to track your findings.
You don’t need a lot of tools to do this but having the right tool for the job will make your task much simpler and your findings more accurate.
One of the most basic but essential tools for identifying efficiency issues in your home is an expensive Infrared Thermometer (link to Amazon). This is the model that I have and have used it extensively to find hot or cold spots in my ceiling and walls as well as to identify air leaks around doors and windows. It shines a red laser dot wherever your point it so you never have any doubt whether you are targeting the right area. Love it!
Now, if you really want to step it up to the next level…
This is at the top of my wish list. The technology on thermal cameras has continued to improve while the costs have been driven down to consumer level budgets. A thermal camera like the Flir C-2 (link to Amazon) can really take your DIY home inspection projects to the next level. It gives you a way to visualize hot and cold spots in walls, around outlets and doorways, and in your attic.
If I was looking to get the most accurate reflection of my home’s energy efficiency, this is what I’d want. Who am I kidding? I do want it.
Air Sealing Products
Once you’ve identified the energy waste issues in your home, it’s time to go to work correcting them. One of the most fundamental parts of improving your home’s energy efficiency is sealing air leaks.
Click here to learn about common questions on air sealing a home.
Below are the products that I recommend.
Great Stuff Expanding Foam
If there is one product that I reach for again and again to address air leaks, it’s Great Stuff foam. It can be a little messy so I recommend gloves and goggles but it reigns supreme for air sealing projects in an attic or garage. Oh, and one more tip – wear old clothes. This stuff doesn’t wash out!
Small projects can be done with a single consumer can but if you have a big project I recommend getting the Pro cans with a metal spray nozzle. That’s what I have. It helps save my back a little too since I can lean into tight areas with it. Click here for the latest pricing (link to Amazon).
Mold-Free Silicone Caulk
When I tell you that my recommendations are based on my mistakes, I’m not kidding! I used a cheap caulk that I purchased from a local hardware store around the windows of my brand new home and this is what happened. Disgusting mold and mildew.
Go with a mold-resistant silicone caulk like Gorilla White 100 Percent Silicone Sealant Caulk (link to Amazon). It will save you the headache that I went through of scraping that cheap stuff off just to do the work all over again.
Wall Plate Insulation Gasket
This one’s a no-brainer. Inexpensive, simple to install and surprisingly effective. Wall Plate Insulation Gaskets are a mainstay in every home that I have lived in, had built, or rehabbed. All you do is remove the cover plate with a screwdriver, place the gasket over the outlet (it is scored to let you punch out holes depending on the type of outlet you have), and replace the cover. Simple and super effective.
People so often overlook outlets as an air-leak source but they can be a HUGE energy waste. Just think of all of the outlets in your home. Every one of those is a potential place for conditioned air to seep out of your home.
Check the latest pricing for Wall Plate Insulation Gaskets (link to Amazon).