How to Significantly Lower Energy Bills This Winter
The formula is simple - the more a homeowner is willing to spend on energy upgrades, the better the cost savings. Of course, this applies to both summer and winter, even though heating bills in Canada’s extreme winter can be more substantial than summer cooling. From air sealing, to insulation, to high-tech thermostats, everything will contribute to better energy efficiency, and therefore money savings throughout the year. What’s best is to make the improvements that deliver good return on investment.
Sealing air leakage
The professionals argue that even basic air sealing can save 10% on heating bills. In a typical home, cracks and gaps, from attic to basement, can result in air leakage that significantly compromises energy efficiency. Short of replacing all of the windows in the home with energy efficient versions, there’s a lot that can be done with professional weatherizing and air sealing, especially with high quality products.
Tuning up the HVAC
HVAC equipment that is performing poorly, for whatever reason, is a serious source of energy wastage. Annual service is essential to performance, and regular maintenance will ensure that heating/cooling cycles are well balanced. More importantly, reducing air leakage in various parts of the home will do wonders in stopping heat loss, and will actually allow the HVAC system to perform more efficiently.
Boosting attic insulation
Professional insulation contractors agree that heating and cooling costs can be reduced by 25% just by boosting attic insulation. This is even more relevant for homes that are older than 25 years. And while the attic is an obvious choice, the exterior walls and basement spaces can also benefit from enhanced insulation. Importantly, the best results stem from high quality products and professional installation.
Saving on hot water
Hot water for showers, dishwashers, and general cleaning can easily account for 10% of a utility bill. If a water heater is quite old, switching to an energy efficient model can save money around the year. Also worth thinking about, is converting from electricity to gas, which will generate additional savings. Not to forget, saving on hot water also means conserving energy by not needlessly wasting hot water.
By some estimates, up to 25% of heating could be escaping from leaky windows. The thing is, not every homeowner can afford to replace windows entirely, and comprehensive weatherizing can be an ideal first step. Today, there are outstanding product options for effectively sealing up windows and doors – products like spray foam, that seal tightly, insulate effectively, and prevent moisture from intruding.
Yes - there are improvements and upgrades that a homeowner can personally undertake, and probably save some money doing so. But for best results, a professional approach is highly recommended. When it comes to energy efficiency, it’s the experts who know which products work best, and which type of installation will deliver the best results. And although the DIY approach may well satisfy a tight budget, nothing compares with a professional who has the in-depth experience and expertise in the field.