Our best results in our previous older home came when we did renovations that increased our insulation in walls, ceilings and the attic. We also changed most of the windows and doors to ones that sealed more efficiently. Given that we are only planning to live in the current house for one winter before we change it rather dramatically, we weren’t ready to do these costly changes with our new house.
Even without massive renovations, it’s still worth concentrating on windows, and doors then maximizing the efficiency of your furnace to keep your house warm without a heating bill that makes you have to take out a second mortgage.
Here are some simple DIY tricks that you can try to make your abode a little more energy efficient:
If you want to take your home maintenance one step further, consider subscribing to a home maintenance plan from Direct Energy. For just $9.99/month you can ensure that your HVAC equipment is always in peak condition which can help keep your energy bills down and make sure you’re covered under your furnace’s warranty.
DIY Door/Window Snake
One of our screen doors has a 1.5″ gap under it. This allows the cold air to get between the doors and the heat from the exterior door escapes. Or if you have a drafty window you’re losing a lot of heat from, this is a simple DIY you can do either like the tutorial below or even more simply with a few old tube socks & a pool noodle.
At your local home improvement store, you can find kits for window insulation that will allow you to take shrink-wrap and seal your windows. This makes an air tight seal that helps to keep drafts and air leaks, aka your dollars, from escaping out old windows.
If you have vapour barrier kicking around from a recent renovation, that and a little Window Kit tape will do just fine. (Be warned if you use Duct or Tuck Tape, it will come off and leave sticky marks everywhere! Don’t do it.)
One of the other places that windows and doors leak air is around the seal. Check it with your hand to see if you can feel a draft. If you do, grab a tube of caulking or spray foam and seal any gaps you can find. The added bonus is, that this will help keep pests out of your house too.
Investing in a set of black out curtains is a wise decision. During cool evenings, you can use these heavy curtains to block drafts from your windows, and then open during the day to let the warm sun heat your house for free.
Making sure your furnace and duct work is ready to go for winter in the fall season is a wise move. Clean the ducts of your house by sticking your vacuum hose down each one, or having them professionally cleaned (Here’s some signs your ducts need cleaning.)
Check your furnace filter, and change it before the new season. Make an appointment in your phone to check it again in a few weeks. If it’s full of dirt, change it out, and consider how you can clean your ducts or vents.
Did you know a non-programmed thermostat can cause you to waste 20 percent of your total energy usage each month? Consider installing a programmable thermostat that you can program with your schedule, or better yet, get a Nest thermostat that learns your habits. Direct Energy customers in Alberta get a new one when they sign up for a Comfort & Control plan.
Turn Temperature Down
When sleeping and out of your house (think when you leave for work), you can turn down the temperature setting on your thermostat. In our family, we just add another blanket to the bed at nightor dress the kids in fuzzy pajamas. The night-time temperature for our programmable thermostat is around 15-16c.
Change Your Bulbs
Update your incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED. This might be a small savings, but coupled with turning the lights off after you leave each room, you can save significant hydro.
Borrow A Kill-A-Watt Meter
Your local library or lending centre likely will have a Kill-A-Watt Meter. Check out the appliances that are plugged in constantly in your house and see how much phantom load they are using. Simple changes like using a power bar or unplugging appliances when they are not in use can help you reduce your phantom load.
Learn More at the Direct Energy Learning Centre
Need more energy efficiency tips? What to learn how to reduce your use? Learn the steps to do simple home maintenance that can really add up? The Direct Energy Learning Centre can help you get started.