Reduce Your Energy Bills and Stay Warm this Winter!
Winter is just around the corner (some mornings it feels like it’s already here!), but that doesn’t mean you need to see your energy bill skyrocket. There are ways to keep warm and cozy without breaking the bank. Try these simple tips to reduce energy costs, while keeping your home comfortable through the winter months.
Replace Worn Weatherstripping
If your weatherstripping has gotten worn and torn it can create drafts and let in cold air. About 7-12% of a home’s heat loss occurs around windows and doors. By simply replacing the old weatherstripping or caulking you can reduce the amount of heat loss.
Adjust Door Thresholds
When your doors are closed can you see daylight peaking through at the bottom? If so, heat is creeping out through the opening. Some thresholds have screws that can be adjusted to lower the height and eliminate the gap. Be careful not to lower it too much because it can cause the door to drag when opened and closed.
Cover Windows and Patio Doors with Plastic Film
Windows can account for 25% of the heat loss in your home. By covering your windows and sliding patio doors with a clear plastic film you can reduce this heat loss, saving about 14% on your utility bill. The clear film is inexpensive and can be found at home centres. It’s easy to put on, barely noticeable and comes off easily in the spring.
Check Your Ductwork for Leaks and Seal Them
Do you have a forced-air heating system? Energy Star says that about 20-30% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost because of holes, leaks, and poorly connected ducts. If you notice the following you may need to have your ductwork fixed:
High winter or summer utility bills
Rooms that are difficult to heat/cool
Stuffy rooms that never seem to feel comfortable
Ducts are located in an attic, crawlspace or the garage
Tangled or kinked flexible ducts
Solution: some home owners choose to do-it-yourself and seal air leaks using mastic sealant or metal tape to seal the ducts you can access (please note, duct tape should not be used to seal ducts as it is only a short-term solution). You could contact your professional contractor as they are experienced in repairing and sealing ductwork.
Aeroseal is another innovative (and the most effective) solution for duct sealing. Learn more about Aeroseal and ask us whether it is the right solution for your home.
Get a Tune-Up on your Furnace or Gas Fireplace
Just like your car, your furnace and gas fireplace need regular maintenance to run efficiently. Although, there is the up-front cost for the tune-up, it preserves the life of your equipment and helps them run efficiently saving you money in the long term. A tune-up includes an inspection, preventative maintenance and identifying parts that need to be repaired or replaced. If there are any gas or carbon monoxide leaks, the technician can repair, helping to keep your family safe. Check your warranty, as most equipment requires annual maintenance for the warranty to remain valid.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Energy Star says if you lower your thermostat by two degrees you can save 5% on your heating bill. If you lower it by five degrees while you sleep, you could save another 10%. By installing a programmable thermostat it will automatically raise and lower the heat based on your pre-sets. There are many affordable programmable thermostat options.
There are also a variety of Smart thermostats available. Although more expensive, Smart thermostats learn your lifestyle (when you’re home/out, when you’re asleep) and adjust accordingly to save you money. Myth busted – your furnace doesn’t have to work harder to heat the house after the temperature is set low.
Put on a Warm Sweater and Socks
This may be the simplest and cheapest solution, but it works! 🙂
BCHYDRO and Fortis BC offer various rebates for things like upgrading insulation, draftproofing, upgrading to select ductless air-source heat, space heating, etc.