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Hammer down on energy use through these home improvements

Think of your home as a system: the building envelope, mechanical systems, indoor and outdoor environment and even the occupants. If you buy a new furnace, for example, but your windows and doors are poorly sealed, the efficiency gains of that investment could literally be leaking out through those cracks in your home. So, before you put any money into energy upgrades, start by learning what an energy-efficient home comprises. Then move on to our top tips for improving your home’s energy efficiency to continue to enjoy savings and improved comfort long after your reno is completed.

Draft proof your home

Caulking between window and baseboard.

Tiny cracks or holes around your windows, doors, walls or vents could be letting in cold air during the winter and warm air in the summer, driving up your heating and cooling bills. Use this guide to find air leaks and drafts around your home. If you detect any leaks, apply weather-stripping or sealant to fill any gaps.

Get your ducts in a row

When was the last time you checked your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system? Space heating represents 61% of your home’s energy use so it is important to make sure that your HVAC system is running as efficiently as possible. Get your ‘ducts in a row’ by conducting regular maintenance on your HVAC system: get your system serviced (this includes space heating), change your air filter every 3 months, empty or “bleed” the air from radiators once or twice a year and insulate hot water pipes to save on heating costs. Consult your owner’s manual for maintenance of all heating, cooling and ventilation equipment.

HVAC system: the ins and outs

Significantly reduce your annual energy bill and create a healthier, more comfortable living environment with a well-tuned and efficiently operating HVAC system. Although a qualified service technician should perform annual maintenance and efficiency tune-ups, homeowners can also do some of the work. Start by learning the type and age of your system. Keep in mind that HVAC systems work differently depending on the climate.  

Ask the expert: get an energy efficiency home evaluation

An energy advisor will assess your home from basement to attic. Getting an EnerGuide home evaluation is a simple process and can help you understand how your home uses energy – and identify upgrades to help improve its energy performance. An energy-efficient home is comfortable, healthy, environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

Are you ready for more energy savings?

Install new windows

Did you know that there are ENERGY STAR® certified windows? You might not think of windows as part of the energy equation, but they play a key role in making sure the energy your home generates or absorbs from the sun stays locked inside.

Man installing new window.

Windows can be a significant source of energy loss in your home and making the upgrade to more energy-efficient models can lead to big savings. Replacing all of the windows in your home with ENERGY STAR certified models can save you an average of 45% on your energy bills! The energy savings and increased home comfort are well worth the investment.

Upgrade your heating system

About two-thirds of the energy you use in your home goes toward heating and cooling. Upgrading to an ENERGY STAR certified heating system is a no-brainer; they use an average of 5 – 45% less energy than standard models. With those kind of savings, you have more to invest in home decor once your renovations are complete!

Close-up of strips of insulation in a wall of a basement.

Don’t forget the basement

Many people don’t use their basements, so it’s easy to overlook how they might be affecting your home’s energy use. Did you know that basements can account for up to 20% of your home’s total heat loss due to poor insulation? Take a minute, go downstairs (no matter how spooky it might be!) and get to know your basement.

While you are at it, check your attic insulation. It depends on what kind of attic you have, but generally speaking: make sure your attic has enough insulation, good ventilation and vapour control, no leaks, and verify that animals haven’t moved in. Learn how to keep the heat in your attic.

 

Looking for more tips on energy efficiency? Follow ENERGY STAR Canada on TwitterFacebookPinterest and LinkedIn to maximize your energy savings and get the latest on energy efficient products.

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