One thing you can do right now to lower energy costs for your home

The average cost for electricity and gas per household runs between $200 and $300 each month.

Add that to internet, cellphone, cable, water, and streaming service bills, the average U.S. household pays just under $7,000 every year for utilities.

Consumer adviser Clark Howard says there is one thing you can do right now to find out you are leaking money in your house and how to keep that cash in your wallet.

It’s called an energy audit and before you replace your windows or your heating and air conditioning system, have one done. It could save you thousands.

William Crawford is an energy auditor and is constantly on the hunt for lost energy and savings.

Crawford works for Energy Consulting Services, which conducts performance energy audits.

“(It) is diagnostic testing that’s designed to determine exactly where your home’s losing energy,” Crawford said.

Shane Matteson owns the company.

“The biggest value is giving you the information not just when to spend money, but when not to spend money,” Matteson said.

That’s something Crawford takes seriously.

As houses settle into the earth, window frames bow, and energy escapes. But replacing windows is costly

“We’re probably talking $700 to $1,300 a piece,” Crawford said.

It’s also not always the most efficient solution.

“What I typically recommend is to actually weather strip the windows,” Crawford said.

The average cost for doing that is between $100 and $500 depending on the size of your home.

Adding a storm window is another option. Most run under $500

“Now you’ve solved window leakage,” Crawford said.

Next Crawford attaches a blower to depressurize the house and creates a vacuum at the front door to find out where the leaks are coming from.

The issue -- the door that separates the unfinished basement from the rest of the home.

“If you’re not using the doggie door, I would just chuck it,” Crawford told the homeowner.

A thermal detector found hot air seeping from the attic. An attic tent solves the problem for anywhere between $30 and $200.

While foam insulation may be the “in thing,” it’s not always the best thing for your home.

“Let’s say for an attic if you don’t have an HVAC system up there, generally it’s not going to pay for itself to go foam because spray foam costs more than twice as much as traditional fiberglass or cellulose insulation,” Crawford said.

Next, Crawford looks for gas leaks in the water heater and furnace. Finally, he uses a pressure pan to test the ducts.

After just two hours, the homeowner had energy-saving solutions that won’t break the bank.

Howard said a lot of the cheaper fixes you can do a lot of them yourself.

If you are going to hire a contractor, prices vary so widely when you are doing home improvement, especially energy conservation.

Howard said to make sure you get multiple quotes.

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