Home & Garden

5 easy ways to make your home more energy efficient

By: Lauren McPhillips

©iStockphoto.com/mrPliskin Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/mrPliskin

Home & Garden

5 easy ways to make your home more energy efficient

By: Lauren McPhillips
From shelling out cash for a snowblower to investing in snow tires for the car, Canadian winters can be brutal on our wallets. One of the biggest strains on household budgets is rising energy bills a result of homes not properly equipped to keep the cold air at bay. Rather than finding a practical solution to the icy draft coming in from the front door, many of us simply sigh and turn up the thermostat – only to groan when a high energy bill arrives a month later.

We caught up with Naomi Resnick, environmental partnerships manager for The Home Depot, who filled us in on some of the biggest ways we're wasting energy during the chilly months and how we can easily cut back on costs by making our homes more energy efficient.



1. Weather-strip your windows and doors
One of the main causes of high energy bills is turning up your thermostat to compensate for the cool drafts coming in through your home's windows and doors. According to Resnick, properly sealing windows and doors can reduce the cost of home heating by seven to 20 per cent.

"It's really easy, too," she says. "A weather-stripping kit will cover four large windows and will only run you around $20. Simply apply the double-sided tape inside the window frame, stick the clear plastic film to the tape and use a hot-air blow dryer to seal the windows."



2. Program your thermostat properly


To keep costs and energy usage down, Resnick suggests setting your thermostat to turn off during the day when the house is empty.

"For additional savings, program the thermostat to drop the temperature slightly during the night when everyone is asleep and cuddled under the blankets," she says. "One product that is packed with innovation and can lower your heating bills by up to 20 per cent is the Nest Learning Thermostat. It learns your schedule, programs itself and can be controlled from your phone."
 3. Purchase a water heater blanket to minimize heat loss

According to Resnick, the home water heater is a huge energy waster, as every time the water begins to cool the heater restarts to ensure there is always hot water available.
 
"By purchasing a hot water heater blanket (priced at around $50) you can minimize the amount of heat lost through the tank's walls, causing the heater to turn on less often," she explains. "In fact, by covering your heater with a blanket, you can save up to nine per cent on water heating costs."


4. Properly insulate your home
Insulating your home not only keeps the chilly winter air out, but it also holds cool air inside during the summer months.
 
"There are several common types of insulation – fibreglass cellulose, rigid foam board, spray foam – and when correctly installed, each type can deliver comfort and lower energy bills, especially during the hottest and coldest times of the year," says Resnick. "Insulation performance is measured by R-value, which is its ability to resist heat flow, so look for higher R-value products that pack more insulating power."


5. Upgrade your windowpanes
Beyond proper weather stripping, the glass panes of your home's windows can be a major source of heat loss. Resnick recommends Sol-R glass from The Home Depot for superior thermal efficiency to reduce heat loss and rising energy bills.
 
"Sol-R is made with a titanium dioxide low-E coating, which provides a considerable increase in R-value performance over clear glass in the winter and a significant reduction in solar heat gain in the summer," she says.

Looking for home decorating tips for your living space? Check out 10 ways to warm up your home decor this winter.

 
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5 easy ways to make your home more energy efficient

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