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."â€¨â€¨
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.
4. Properly insulate your home
5. Upgrade your windowpanes