Energy Efficient Homes
If you want to improve your home's energy efficiency it doesn't have to be expensive and involve months of renovations. With a few tips and tricks we have come up with and some DIY's you can make your home run more energy efficient and save little money too. So lets jump right into it, here our top tips and tricks.
Tend to your furnace - new high efficiency furnaces use the least amount of energy, but older models can also be made more efficient too if buying a new furnace isn't in the budget right now. To maintain our older furnace annual servicing by a professional would be the number one step, it will involve cleaning the parts you can't see or reach and making sure it isn't working harder than it has too. For you to do on your own, replacing the filters every 3 months and more often if you've done or are doing renovations or if you have pets. This ensures air moves through the unit easily and prolongs the life of your furnace.
Wrap the water heater - water heaters are usually the most efficient choice since water isn't being heated when not in use, for electric hot water tanks you can try wrapping it in an insulating blanket to reduce heat loss.
Seal duct work - joints in the duct work can allow hot to escape, that basically means that you are paying to heat Alberta (haha). Putting heating-vent tape to all visible joints will help you keep your warm air you pay for where it should be, whether that be in your house or upstairs from an unfinished basement.
Windows and doors - if you don't have an air tight seal in your windows and doors you are wasting energy when heating or cooling our home. Check for drafts by holding a lit candle around window frames and door jams, if the candle flickers you have a draft in that spot. Your fix for that would be to use calking around frames, install or replace weather stripping, also you could add a door sweep, especially in colder months exterior window film will increase your efficiency further.
Ceiling fans - they are great when you need to cool a bedroom but not the entire house so you can cut back on your air conditioner. Fans can also help in the colder months because most come with a reverse option that pushes warm air down into the room.
Large appliances - your washer, dryer, and dishwasher use a lot of energy and usually run for long periods of time, to be more efficient try shifting your schedule to wash clothes or dishes during off peak hours such as a after 7pm or weekends or times when energy costs are at their lowest. For that extra saving you can consider using the air dry option on the dishwasher and washing your clothes on a shorter cycle setting. Also you could even go as far as installing a close line outside in the summer to hang dry clothes and have a drying rack for the colder months, less time your dryer is on the more you save and hey it helps your clothes look newer longer too!
Clean large appliances - the vents in the back of the refrigerator and and clothes dryer for their exhaust get clogged with dust the motors have to work harder which requires more engird which in turn costs you more money. So to prevent clogging vacuum those areas a couple times throughout the year.
Automate usage - programmable thermostats can reduce heating and cooling costs by over 10 percent if you program them to adjust the temperature for hours you are out of the house or sleeping. Also a spin off of programmable thermostats is a light dimmer, install on light switches so that the lights turn off when you leave the room saving that "oops I forgot to shut the lights off in the kitchen" for the whole day thought that goes through your head as soon as you leave the house.
Phantom power consumption - plug small appliances and electronics into a programmable power bar that can be programmed to switch off at night or when you leave the house for the day because remember everything uses power if its plugged into a live source even if it is not in use. Chargers being the worst for this, even when plugged in but not connected to a device they draw power out, so once your device is fully charged don't just unplug it, unplug the whole charger as well.
Invest in an energy audit - after you have done everything you can to make your home more energy efficient call a professional and have them come out and see if there is any areas you have missed or could make improvements on that will ultimately give you the most energy efficient home you can have.
So there you have it a list of how to's to make your home more energy efficient without breaking the bank! If you have any other tips or tricks that you do to keep your home as efficient as possible please feel free to comment we would love to hear them!
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