Earlier this month we began a series on how to keep your winter power bills as low as possible. Here is Part 2.
Even if your home doesn't have visible cracks or leaks, you can still be losing heat if you have inefficient insulation, particularly if you have an older home. If your home is at least 10 years old, your insulation may have sagged or settled over time, leaving gaps and seams. Consider upgrading your insulation to newer options that save energy.
Start in areas that lose the most heat, such as basements, crawlspaces and attics. A well sealed and well insulated attic can reduce year-round energy use by up to 15 percent. Used appropriately, spray foam insulation can be used for air sealing and insulation.
Install insulation on the underside of the floor in an unheated or vented crawlspace. Fiberglass batts or blankets are usually easiest. Install an air and moisture barrier on the ground before insulating.
Upgrade your insulation when you're undergoing other renovations, such as replacing a roof or upgrading a basement. You'll save time and it's a low cost way to add energy efficiency to your project.
When upgrading and/or re-doing insulation, consider the function and placement of the vapour barrier. Yukon Housing and the Energy Solutions Centre can help you understand how a vapour barrier works and where it should be placed.
Safety note: take great care when insulating and sealing around electrical devices, electrical junction and switch boxes, chimneys, hot water tanks, etc… Some insulating materials are flammable and some appliances require ventilation and exhaust to operate safely while others may require clearances. If in doubt, seek professional guidance.
Turn down your thermostat
If it isn't an option to upgrade your insulation or you've made all the changes that you can, sometimes it just comes down to how you manage your thermostat. In fact this should be done regardless of other energy upgrades.
Programmable thermostats give you the flexibility to be effective with your heat.
By turning down the heat by just two degrees, it can reduce your home heating costs by five percent.
Program your thermostat to set back the temperature by five degrees for eight hours every night and you can save approximately 10 percent on your heating bill.
Program your thermostats to a temperature that is comfortable for you during periods when you are at home (for most people, that's around 20 or 21 degrees) and lower than that at night or when you are not home.
Get cozy: wearing sweaters, slippers and using a blanket may make it easier to adjust to lower temperatures instead of turning up the heat.
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