DIY Home Energy Audit


Category Lighting
Possible Condition Rating Tooltip Notes

Incandescents bulbs in use

T12 lamps and magnetic ballast in use


Magnetic ballasts can be detected by borrowing a flicker checker from a participating County Extension office.

Mercury vapor, metal halide, or high pressure sodium lamps in use indoors


High pressure sodium light has a noticeable orange-yellow tint.

Mercury vapor, metal halide, or high pressure sodium lamps in use outdoors


High pressure sodium light has a noticeable orange-yellow tint.

Outdoor lights on during day

Lighting in barn or open building on during day

Security or other lights commonly on when space unoccupied

More light than necessary applied to a space

Recommended lighting levels (in foot-candles/lux): General livestock housing - 10 fc/108 lux; Tie Stall barns - Feed alley - 15-20 fc/161-215 lux; Tie Stall barns - Center alley - 20-50 fc/215-538 lux; Free Stall barns - 15-20 fc/161-215 lux; Treatment area - 50-100 fc/538-1,076 lux; Parlors - General - 20 fc/215 lux; Operators pit - 50 fc/538 lux (at cows udder); Holding area - 10-20 fc/108-215 lux; Manual wash sink - 100 fc/1,076 lux; Poultry barns - 20 fc/215 lux; Other work areas - Office - 50 fc/538 lux (at desk top); Loading and storage areas - 20 fc/215 lux; Lunch room - 50 fc/538 lux (at table top); Restroom - 20 fc/215 lux; Machine storage - 10 fc/108 lux; Farm shop general repair area - 50 fc/538 lux; Outdoor security - 1 fc/10.76 lux. Source: University of Wisconsin: Energy Efficient Agricultural Lighting.

Magnetic ballasts still in fixtures even if lamps not installed


Magnetic ballasts can be detected by borrowing a flicker checker from a participating County Extension office. Note that a lamp must be installed and on to use the flicker checker to detect ballast type.

Category Tractor and Field
Possible Condition Rating Tooltip Notes

Tractor horsepower not matched to implements

Tractors driven in low gear when pulling partial load

Transmission has fixed number of gear ratios

Using bias ply tractor tires

Tires will be labeled as either bias ply or radial.

Tractor left idling longer than manufacturer's recommendation

Tractor not maintained regularly

Conventional tillage utilized

Engine block heater left plugged in overnight

Wheel slippage with drawbar loads not 8-12% on firm untilled soil, 10-15% on tilled soil, or 13-17% on loose, sandy soil

Visually, correct wheel slip produces visible lug marks but with distinct soil crumbling near the tire centerline.  To definitively measure wheel slip, you'll need two people, two stakes, and a piece of chalk: 1. Choose a typical, un-worked flat area in a field that represents normal working conditions.  2. Mark the side of a drive tire with a line using chalk.  3. Place two stakes in the ground 100 feet apart.  4. Allow the tractor to come up to speed with a tillage implement in the ground before it passes the first stake.  5. Your observer will count the number of tire revolutions to the nearest quarter turn between the two stakes.  6. Multiply the number of revolutions times the circumference of the tire, which can be directly measured or calculated by multiplying the tire diameter times pi (3.14).  7. Subtract 100 from this number and that is the percent wheel slippage.  Example: 6.25 revolutions were counted and the tire circumference was 18 feet.  (6.25 x 18) - 100 = 12.5%. 

Horsepower-hours per gallon not considered when tractor shopping

Category Pumped Irrigation
Possible Condition Rating Tooltip Notes

Evapotranspiration-based irrigation scheduling not used

Soil moisture test-based irrigation scheduling (hand, field, probes) not used

Pump inefficient as determined by pump test

Pumping efficiency is the ratio of the output water horsepower to the input shaft horsepower expressed as a percentage. Pump Efficiency (%) = (GPM x Total Head x 100)/(Input HP x 3960). Recommended minimum pump efficiencies: Centrifugal, self-priming - 60%; Centrifugal, non self-priming - 65%; Submersible - 70%; Vertical shaft turbine - 70%.

High pressure center pivot system in use (greater than 50 psi)

Nozzle worn or used for more than 7,000 hours of operation

If sand has entered your water source, recommended run time may be less. One way to check to see if the nozzle is worn is to purchase a drill bit of the same exact size as the manufactured size of your nozzle. Compare how the drill bit fits into the used nozzle versus a brand new nozzle of the same size.  In some cases, the bit may go all the way through the opening of the used nozzle while it will not be able to fit through the opening of the brand new nozzle. 

Gaskets worn on above ground irrigation pipe

Well screen plugged as determined by excessive drawdown

Diesel pump engine used despite access to electricity

Variable frequency drive not used despite varying irrigation requirements from one pump

Off peak electric rates not utilized if offered

Regular pump and motor/engine maintenance not performed

Category Livestock Waterers
Possible Condition Rating Tooltip Notes

Waterer heated with electricity, natural gas, or propane

Thermostat set higher than 40 F

At a minimum, the temperature should be set lower than the ground water temperature but higher than freezing to minimize heating needs.

Overflowing fountain

No thermostat for fountain

Waterer exposed to high winds

Insulation in water cabinet missing or in poor condition

Water fountain bowl uncovered when not in use

Gap between fountain base and concrete pad

Electric well house heater/heat lamp left on in warm weather

Category Animal Housing
Possible Condition Rating Tooltip Notes

Insulation less than recommended

Recommended levels of insulation for animal housing in the midwest: Unheated - Walls - R-12; Ceilings - R-16. Heated - Walls - R-13; Ceilings - R-24. Source: University of Missouri Extension - G1107.

Ventilation fans not sized properly

The following are recommended ventilation rates for warm confinement buildings but do not account for animal density:

Animal, Desired room temperature (F), Ventilation rate (cfm per listed unit): Winter minimum, Winter normal, Summer

Sow and litter, 60-80, 20, 20, 210
40-pound pig, 70, 2, 15, 36
100-pound pig, 60, 5, 20, 48
150-pound pig, 60, 7, 25, 72
250-pound pig, 60, 10, 35, 120
Dairy cow, 55, 35, 100, 200
Dairy calf, 55, 10, 50, 75
Beef per 1,000 pounds, 55, 15, 100, 200
Poultry per pound, 55-60, 0.125, 0.5, 1
Horse per 1,000 pounds, 55, 25, 100, 200

Source: University of Missouri Extension - G1107

Natural ventilation not maximized

Fan blades, motors, shutters, and housings dirty

Fan belt not tightened regularly

Fan speed not variable

Fan has low efficiency rating

Exhaust fan efficiency is measured in cubic feet per minute per watt. Circulating fan efficiency is measured in pounds of force per kilowatt. Efficiency ratings for fans can be found at University of Illinois BESS lab website: www.bess.illinois.edu

Shutters left open when exhaust fans not in use

Discharge (diffuser) cones not installed on exhaust fans

Circulating fans not controlled by thermostat

Thermostat located near heat/cold source

Thermostats heat set point less than 1.5 degrees from cooling set point

Category Farm Shop (heated)
Possible Condition Rating Tooltip Notes

Cracks/gaps around interior or exterior window frames

Drafts around closed window edges

Window panes single

Gaps around door frames

Drafts around sides of closed doors

Drafts around bottoms of closed doors

Excessive heat loss/gain through door itself

Ceiling insulation less than R-30

R-values per inch of thickness (approximate): Fiberglass batt - 3.2; Loose fill fiberglass - 2.5; Loose fill cellulose - 3.7; Mineral wool - 3.1; Expanded polystyrene foam (white) - 4.3; Extruded polystyrene foam (pink or blue) - 5.3; Polyurethane foam - 6.8.

No dense shelterbelt of trees to the west and north of your shop

Heat is provided to entire shop instead of zones

Phantom loads present


A phantom load is electricity used by appliances even after theyre turned off. They are present in appliances that remain lit when off, that have external power adapters, and that are controlled by remotes. Phantom loads can be measured by power monitors available on loan at many libraries and Extension offices.

Category Grain Storage
Possible Condition Rating Tooltip Notes

Drying grain in layers not practiced

Fan run without checking grain temperature

Grain stored without maximizing field drying

Fan pushing greater than 1cfm/bushel (for corn) in bin

This is the maximum recommended airflow rate needed to dry corn at 18% moisture.