Tips, Tricks, Products, and More to Help You Save on Energy Costs
Energy-efficient homes are not only better for the environment, they are also better for homeowners’ wallets. Upgrading to energy-efficient windows, doors, insulation, and homes may seem costly at first. But these upgrades provide an excellent return on investment.
You can save on energy costs year-round and boost your property value. Best of all, you may even qualify for rebates from programs to help lower the costs of these upgrades.
So if you felt cold drafts around your home this winter, it might be time to make some upgrades to your home. Consider these tips so you can stay comfortable in your home and save on energy bills year-round.
Install Energy-Efficient Windows
A home’s building envelope will determine how energy-efficient the home is. Ideally, your home won’t have any drafts placing high demands on your cooling and heating systems. But more often than not, homes have many drafts coming in, especially as homes settle with age.
Drafts could be coming from older windows and doors, as well as outdated insulation. Thankfully, window and door manufacturers put energy-efficiency first these days. New energy-efficient windows are tightly sealed and heat-reflective. The heat from the sun won’t come in during the summer, and the heat from the home won’t escape during the colder months.
Low-e glass reduces the amount of cold and hot air that can radiate through a window pane. Energy-efficient windows have at least two panes, providing an insulating gap between. These panes are often filled with argon gas for additional insulation.
Doors also allow drafts in over time. Door jambs become warped, making it difficult to close doors properly, and allowing more outdoor air to come in. If you notice sunlight and cold air coming in through the cracks of a doorway, add weather-stripping and consider a door upgrade.
As with home appliances, look for new energy-efficient windows with an Energy Star-rating.
The insulation in a home’s ceiling, walls, and basement loses insulation value over time as it becomes compacted. So to ensure your home is well-insulated, hire a contractor to add new insulation to your ceiling space, exterior walls, and basement.
If you are installing new windows and/or replacing the siding of your home, this is a good time to add new insulation and a thermal break to the outside of your walls. You can also insulate your basement and basement floor. Consider adding an insulated subfloor to your basement’s concrete floor. This will provide an insulating barrier between the concrete and the subfloor, so your floor and basement will be warmer in the winter.
These days, spray foam insulation is replacing pink fibreglass insulation because it is more effective. The pink insulation only fills spaces between wall studs and results in 30 percent of home heat and conditioned air loss.
But the polymer spray foam fills every crack, expanding to around 100 times its original volume. It won’t let any air in or out, it lasts much longer than pink fibreglass insulation, and it’s resistant to pollen and dust accumulation.
Install Smart Home Features
Smart home features refer to controlling your home’s heating, cooling, lighting, security, and entertainment systems with smartphones and home devices. New home automation systems are cloud-based, using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to power switches instead of electrical wiring around the home.
One smartphone app, The Nest, allows you to control your thermostat with your smartphone or manually on your digital thermostat. You can set a schedule based on when you’re home. And this app will even recognize your weekly schedule, adjusting your thermostat for ultimate energy savings based on when you are home, at work, and coming home from work.
Smart home automation features make powering off and lowering energy consumption possible whenever.
Take Advantage of Rebates
Provinces offer incentives for homeowners to make their homes more energy-efficient. Depending on where you live, check online to see what incentives are available for you.
The Green Ontario Fund offers a rebate for homeowners to install energy-efficient windows and insulate their homes. Ontario residents who use a participating contractor and live in a detached, townhome, or semi, can participate in this rebate program.
The GreenON Rebates include:
- Up to $7,200 for purchasing and installing insulation throughout your home, including the attic, basement, and exterior walls;
- $100 for air sealing tiny gaps and cracks in your home as part of the insulation process; and
- $5000, or $500 per window up to 10 windows, for high-performance window installations.
With these rebates, it’s easier and more affordable than ever for homeowners to make their homes more energy-efficient. A few upgrades to your home will make a noticeable difference in your home comfort and energy bills year-round. And if you ever decide to sell, you can increase your home value with these energy-efficient upgrades.