As the winter months approach and we crank up the heat, many of us are wincing at our utility bills. There are many suggestions out there to increase your home’s energy efficiency and it can all become a bit overwhelming. The experts at Siding in Vancouver came in to help us weed through all of this information and get down to the things that will really make a difference. Together, we came up with four simple ways to keep the heat inside of your home.
1. Close up Your Leaks
Much of the heat that we lose every day seeps out through tiny cracks and fissures. Doors and windows are generally the major culprits, and typically some of the easiest to fix also. You would be amazed at what a single tube of caulk can do! You’ll want to paint over the caulking to make sure that your home retains its aesthetic value. Another good place to check is your heating and air conditioning ducts. It’s entirely possible that much of your temperature controlled air isn’t making it into your homes at all, but getting lost on its journey to the vent. Taking care of the small leaks in your home can make a big difference in your home’s energy efficiency and the price of your utility bill. Experts estimate that roughly one-fifth of temperature-controlled air, and therefore one-fifth of your utility bill payment, is lost to small, perfectly fixable leaks.
2. Invest in a Better Thermostat
While a more expensive thermostat can seem like a frivolous extra, it really can make a big difference in the energy efficiency of your home. Smart thermostats–those connected to the internet and equipped with multiple sensors and programmable options–has helped a number of homeowners reduce their electricity bills by as much as 12%. Most programmable thermostats allow you to dictate a certain temperature at a certain time, automatically adjusting without you having to physically be there to push the buttons. Some thermostats even program themselves, learning from your patterns throughout the day and night and automatically adjusting the heating and air conditioning to meet your temperature needs. A smart thermostat can be particularly beneficial if you live in a particularly hot or particularly cold climate, as you are likely to use your heating and air conditioning more often.
3. Install Energy Efficient Windows
The view out of your window is certainly beautiful and the natural light that the clear glass provides is entirely indispensable. That view, though, is likely costing you a pretty penny in lost energy efficiency. You can change that, though. If you have an older home, it is likely that your windows are single pane glass. This older window technology is no longer up to snuff and lets a great deal of heat and air through its relatively thin and somewhat porous surface. Many windows, regardless of their age, are prone to leaks around their edges as well. The connecting point between the window and the wall creates a seam that is likely to see damage and release air. You will want to make sure that these seams are secure regardless of whether or not you opt for new, more energy efficient window panes as well. If you don’t want to replace your window panes but do want to increase the energy efficiency of your glass, you might consider installing storm windows on the outside of your home.
4. Increase Your Insulation
A majority of homes in the United States and Canada do not have as much insulation material as they should. A lack of insulation is directly related to increased energy loss throughout the year. One of the best and easiest places that you can add extra insulation is in your attic or roof, as it is very likely that the beams are exposed and you will not have to deal with sheetrock or another material facade. Insulation is available for purchase at most hardware stores and can easily be installed with a staple gun or similar fastening device. Another way to increase your home’s insulation is to try out an insulated siding material, such as vinyl siding with a foam board backing. It may seem intimidating to replace your entire exterior, but it is often one of the lower-hassle fixes as it is restricted to the outer layer of the building and allows you continue with business as usual on the inside of your home.
Christina Warner is an interior and exterior home designer. She graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, BC and is working with different construction companies to help them build dream homes for their clients. Christina loves Scandinavian simplicity and Italian coziness in design. She also curates contents for SidinginVancouver.com.