With Winnipeg typically covered in snow for one-third of the year, Winnipeggers are well known for their resiliency in winter. But, have you considered how your home is handling the frigid temperatures?
While new homes in our communities are built with energy efficiency in mind, it pays to consider additional energy-saving strategies that are easy to implement and could save you money.
Get a feel for it
Winterizing your home is essentially about keeping the warm air in and the cold air out. The best way to find out where air is escaping is to feel around all of the doors and windows that lead outside.
If you feel a leak, apply caulking to effectively seal the gap. If you’re having trouble identifying the leaks, consider investing in an infrared thermometer.
According to Manitoba Hydro, 20 per cent of air leakages gets in through holes where plumbing pipes and telephone wires enter the house. Each little gap you seal may seem minimal but when you add them up, this simple and cheap method can make a big difference to your winter heating bill.
Don’t block the heat
Allow your furnace to work efficiently by changing its filters regularly and by keeping air vents clear of furniture. You can also install a furnace filter alarm so it’ll let you know when it’s time to change the filters.
Use smart technology to help you stay on track. Install a programmable thermostat so you can set a schedule for your home and manage the temperature anywhere from your smart device. You can also set it to recognize when someone is home and when the house is empty, allowing for a comfortable temperature while inside your home and temporarily shutting off your heating and cooling systems when you are away.
Other energy-saving gadgets include automatic timers, dimmers, motion sensors and solar cells.
Lower your thermostat to save energy by wearing a sweater and throwing down rugs in your home to keep toasty warm. Other cozy ideas include having a throw blanket nearby and using a humidifier to stay comfortable in lower temperatures; houseplants and aquariums can add humidity as well.
Stay warm by the fire
There’s nothing like sitting in front of a fire on a chilly winter evening, and while many people don’t have wood burning fireplaces, electric and gas options are popular features in new homes.
Fireplaces not only look great by adding an element of visual warmth to your living room but they’re also a fantastic way to heat the space you’re in, rather than the entire house.
Let the light in
Generate warmth by opening your curtains during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home. Once it becomes dark, close them with tight-fitting drapes or shades to trap in the heat.
Opt for LED
When lighting or decorating your home for the holidays, save energy by installing LED lights as they use up to 75 per cent less energy than traditional bulbs. For interior lighting, don’t forget to switch off the lights when you’re leaving a room for more than 15 minutes.
The hype about pipes
Improperly maintained piping can burst upon freezing and can create a huge headache for homeowners. However, it’s entirely preventable.
The problem arises when increased pressure builds-up in frozen pipes and forces the water downstream, causing pressure. Once a pipe bursts, flooding may occur and clean-up can be extensive and expensive. Seasonally inspecting, sealing and insulating pipes can do wonders to avoid this problem in the first place!
Adjust the heat
Now we all know someone who loves taking extremely hot showers, especially in winter, but if you’re looking to save energy and lower heating costs try turning down the temperature of your hot water tank. By turning your water temperature down to a warm setting, you’ll also avoid accidently scalding your hands.
Some of the most important strategies for winterizing your home begin long before the first snowflakes float to the ground.
Planting shrubs around the foundation of your home is an easy and effective way to prevent cool air from entering your home while keeping warm air inside.
This type of smart landscaping also pays-off in summer, as the foliage shades your windows from direct sunlight. It’s a win-win! Planting shrubs, especially evergreens, also contributes to clean and healthy air which means you’re helping your community as well as the environment.
Owning a home can bring great pride and taking the time to care for your investment can reward you many times over. In our communities you’re able to take advantage of the energy efficiency that a new home can bring and by incorporating these additional energy-saving strategies, you’ll save even more in the long run.