As the cooler weather moves in, most homeowners are dreading those high energy bills. Luckily, there are ways in which you can reduce your energy consumption significantly. While you have probably turned down your thermostat and replaced your lightbulbs, there are other solutions that will help to save you money and keep you cozy.
ICFs: If you are planning a renovation or a new build, this is one of the very best options for creating a tight building envelope and saving energy. The expanded polystyrene (EPS) panels used in Amvic ICFs provide an insulation R-value of 20 which translates to a 30-50% savings on heating and air conditioning costs.
Even if you have an established home, you could be losing much of your heated air through your basement. Insulting your basement with ICFs could save you up to 30% of your energy bill.
Furnace Maintenance: Your heating system requires constant maintenance. Start with an annual cleaning to ensure that it is working optimally. Dirty HVAC filters cause your furnace to work overtime, so clean them every month according to the manufacturer’s specifications and save 5-15% on your energy bill.
If you have a home with radiator heating, bleed them to release any air bubbles and improve efficiency. Just open the tap at the bottom and let the air out. Close the tap once the water starts running.
Seal those Switches: Switches on older homes may not be insulated. That means that they are holes in your walls through which your precious warm air leaks out, especially on outside walls. Insulated switch and outlet plates are available from your local hardware store.
Energy Monitors: These are an inexpensive way to keep tabs on how much energy you are using. On average, homeowners who install energy monitors save 8% on their energy bills. Many Canadian utility companies offer energy monitors free of charge.
Caulk your Gaps: Gaps, holes and cracks in walls around lighting and plumbing fixtures reduce the efficacy of your building envelope. Check seals around doors and windows to ensure that your heated indoor air isn’t escaping.
Ceiling Fan: Turn your ceiling fan on and reverse the direction to help circulate heat in your home.
Gardening: Planting deciduous trees, vines or shrubs outside of your east, west and north-facing windows will shade your home from the summer sun and reduce your cooling costs by as much as 35%. When these trees lose their leaves in the winter, they allow the sun in and reduce heating costs.
Lighting: While you already know that switching out your lightbulbs can save you money, there are other ways to further reduce your lighting costs. Install dimmers to reduce energy consumption and occupancy sensors which will turn lights off in rooms that aren’t used.