Another Thanksgiving Day is now behind us and that means another Ontario winter is on the horizon. It’s time to start thinking about how we will keep our homes warm for the winter without busting our budget. Fortunately, there are a number of things we can do to effectively accomplish that goal.
Turn Your Thermostat Down
You may have flashbacks from growing up about a parent obsessing over who can touch the thermostat, but the fact is that setting your thermostat to a lower temperature saves energy.
Bundle up a bit more or use an extra blanket. Heating your home to a lower temperature is one of the top ways to save energy.
Use a Smart or Programmable Thermostat
If you have not yet upgraded to a smart or programmable thermostat, now is the time to do so. Both of these options make environmental control of your home a snap, allowing for precise control of temperature at any time of the day.
With a smart thermostat, you don’t even have to be present. Simply make adjustments using your computer or smart phone.
Switch from Electric to Gas
An electrically heated house (baseboard heaters) tends to cost more than gas furnaces for the same amount of heating. Talk to your local natural gas supplier about converting your house over to that system. The upfront cost of that investment might seem a bit intimidating, but when you do the math, it will become clear just how much money you can save and how quickly that new furnace will pay itself off.
Replace/Fix Damaged Seams
Drafts can come from all over your home, so inspect the exterior from top to bottom. You should address what needs to be replaced (e.g. leaky or broken windows, damaged vents), and seal up any holes or cracks with insulating sealants. Be thorough: if cold air can find a way in, it is going to cost you money.
Seal Your Windows
Once you have finished your inspection of the outside, take a close look at your windows. Even if you have sealed up the cracks, it is sometimes still possible for air to get in. You can reduce that leakage to almost nothing by sealing up the windows with plastic film.
Keep Doors and Windows Closed
Coming off of a nice summer and an especially warm fall, it is important that your family quickly get out of the habit of leaving the windows and doors open. Also, make sure that there is no clutter at entry points that can block a tight seal. Note that locked windows seal tighter, so make sure that all the ones that can open are properly secured.
Adjust Door Thresholds
Another part of your draft eradication project is to make sure that no air is leaking in under the doors. Even if you can’t feel a draft, turn off the lights in the room, lie on your side, and see whether any daylight is visible under the door; if there is light, you’ve got a leak.
You can easily fix this by checking the door thresholds. Some are adaptable; if yours are, simply adjust the screws and raise them up until you can’t see any light coming through.
Close Vents and Doors to Unused Rooms
We use some rooms in a home more often than others. There is no reason to heat those other rooms as much as high traffic areas, such as the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms. Keep vents and doors closed to seal in what little heat those other areas require.
Use the Sun
The sun is a natural heat source that is a home comfort nemesis during the summer, but can be a free ally when the year is coldest. Simply keep your blinds open during the day and closed at night.
Use Portable Heaters
If there are areas in your home that you only use on occasion and for limited amounts of time, portable heaters can be a cost-effective choice as they only heat the room you’re in. Keep the heat off in these rooms the rest of the time.