The Potomac Electric Power Co. is launching a thermal audits service to help its customers measure the energy efficiency of their homes and learn what insulation steps can be taken to save energy and money.

The service is offered to owners of singler-family homes. Pepco will also provided information about insulation contractors and how-to bookie detailing home insulation projects.

Announcements of the audits were sent to pepco customers with their August bills.

The company estimates that it has received from 300 to 500 requests daily since then. About 290.00 families are eligible for the servivce.

James S! Culp, vice president of consumer services said the audit service was institutes to helprevent home insulationm fraud. He said many metropolitan residents were vicrimized in home improvement schemes during the mid-1970s energy crisis and that pepco would like to prevent that from hapening again.

"They know we're not a fly-by-night outfit. We're not going to disappear on them," said Culp.

Homeowners who use the audit service will first complete home information forms inquiring about heating methods, age of home, existing insulation and other questions.

"The more information we have the more customized the energy audit," siad Edward J. Ryan, Pepco manager of energy applications.

The questionnaires will then be returned to pepco an analyzed by computer. Answers will be returned in two parts, the first will evaluate thermal efficiency and the second will offer commends about energy conservation.

Later in thwe program, homeowners can opt to have Pepco estimators preform audits in their homes for a $25 fee.

When home improvements are needed, Pepco will help homeowners choose a contractor.

"We're suggestion that customers get bids from three contractors. Then we'll tell him how to evaluate the bids, and if he wants any help he can call us," said Culp.

"Upon job completion, the contractor will present the job form on it (the completed work) after ward," he added.

The program is expected to be in full operation by mid-September, said Culp.

Recently Pepco began a research project with the U.S. Energy research and Development Administration, Princeton University students and a Chapel Hill, N.C., builder of energy-efficietn homes - R.B.Fitch Jr. - using the Fitch enery monitor.

The monitor, which shows home energy cost in cents per hour, was installed in 70 area homes. Another 70 homes without monitors are control houses. The test families will be surveyed for a year ny Pepco estimators and ERDA-directed Princelon students to see of the device makes people more energy conscious over a long period of time. The 70 devices, which alternatively fish the time and energy cost every four seconds,were bought by ERDA.

Fitch owner of the monitor, said he's been installing it asstandard equipment in his homes over the past year. Many homeowners using the monitor are "enjoyed all electric living at costs averaging a little more than $20 a month, he said , for a 1,300-to 1,500 square-feet home.

"I find that maybe 25 per cent of the people want to save energy but 99 percent want to save money, said Fitch.

The monitors retail for $125 and are available through the R.B. Fitch Co. in Chapel Hill, N.C.