Ah, Edmonton winters. So unpredictable. Is anyone else wearing a cocoon of nylons under tights under pants with camp socks & two sweaters? Anyone else afraid to turn up the thermostat because of our new carbon tax? Yeah, me too. If you're looking for ways to improve your homes energy efficiency, we have some solutions for you!
1. Check those windows
Windows are one of the biggest culprits for wasted heat. Old windows, air leaks, improper locking mechanisms, and poor R-Value glass can all contribute to that warm air loss in your home. So how do you fix it?
- Consider replacing old windows (especially those that only have single or double panes of glass) with a triple pane window that fits properly
- Caulk or have any gaps/cracks repaired by a professional to avoid air leaks
- Replace or repair broken locking mechanisms. If your window isn't properly closed, both cold air & moisture may enter your home. Burr!
- Invest in an insulating blind, such as honeycomb cellular shades from Hunter Douglas, that will trap dead air and improve the R-Value of your existing windows
2. Trade wood for gas or electric
Love your wood burning fireplace but can't stand the chilly chimney? Trade up for a gas fireplace or electric model! You'll reduce the amount of warm air lost through the flue, and create a cleaner air environment for your family!
- When opting for a gas fireplace, remember to get a programmable thermostat that will automatically turn your unit off when a certain room temperature is reached
- A blower installed on either a gas or electric unit will help to circulate the warm air into the room
- Turn down your thermostat if everyone is gathered in the same room as the fireplace; no sense in heating the rest of the house!
3. Clean up your act
Can't remember the last time you got your furnace cleaned (or even changed the filter)? You could be reducing the efficiency of your furnace, resulting in higher bills! Try to get your furnace cleaned every three to five years. An exception to this is if you've gone through a home renovation. We always recommend that our clients have their furnace cleaned after a renovation as dust & other material can get into the HVAC system. This will keep your home heated (and cooled) without wasting any excess energy.
Some other ways to improve your furnace hygiene:
- Change your air filters every 3 to 4 months (a great way to remember this is just changing them at the start of each new season)
- Turn down your furnace when you leave your home for the day, and reduce the temperature at night. Opt for extra blankets or a snuggle buddy
- Invest in a Smart thermostat, like the Nest (available here) that learns your schedule and adjusts your homes temperature accordingly. You can also control it from your smartphone (the future is here!)
4. Get outta here
None of these solutions seem good enough for you? Sell your home, move to the desert, and be done with the snow forever. Later, gator.