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April 28, 2017

Three Easy Ways to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency & Reduce Heating/Cooling Bills

With spring finally arriving to Edmonton, many people are anxiously waiting to get outside and enjoy the sun. Right now also happens to be the perfect time of year for you to start planning the small projects that need to get done around the house. After the winter we just had, you may find yourself looking for ways to take a dent out of your heating bills.

If our cold weather sent your bill soaring, you may find relief with a few small projects that will help boost your home’s thermal efficiency, improve your appliance efficiency, and help keep your money where it belongs: your wallet.

Seal Your Home & Repair Air Leaks

Many homes in the Edmonton area aren’t properly sealed. In fact, we’d venture to say that most homes in the Edmonton area have this problem.

Air leaks can play a big part in inflated heating bills and can also cause property damage if left unchecked.

  • In the winter, they force your furnace to work harder to keep your home at temperature
  • In the summer, they force your air conditioner to work harder to do the same
  • They can lead to moisture problems, which can be expensive to fix
  • Bugs and vermin can use leaks as a way to gain entry into your home

You can hire a professional, or you can do it yourself by purchasing some caulking, foam insulation, and weather stripping. If you intend to DIY, here’s a handy guide of where to look and what to do.

The Efficiency Payoff

According to Energy.gov, sealing your home pays off in just a few years (in terms of utility bill reductions), though it may take longer if you hired a professional contractor to do the job.

Of course, it’s difficult to measure the payoff in terms of what sealing your home prevents: moisture damage can costs tens of thousands of dollars (or more) to fix, and bug/vermin infestations can turn into long (and expensive) games of cat and mouse… pardon the pun.

Replace the Filters on Your Furnace, Air Conditioner, & Humidifier

One area where you can save big is in your appliances. In Edmonton, most homes use a natural gas powered furnace for their central heating. Part of this system is the air filter, which ensures that incoming air is free of debris that could otherwise find its way into the combustion chamber of your furnace (creating an expensive problem in the process). Learn more about how furnaces work.

When your filters become clogged, airflow is restricted and the efficiency of your furnace (or air conditioner) plummets.

The Efficiency Payoff

The simple act of replacing a filter can improve your furnace and air conditioner efficiency by as much as 10%. This pays for itself very quickly.

Consider Investing in a Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats – thermostats that are connected to the internet – are a relatively new innovation in the exciting world of HVAC thermostats. Okay, when it comes to thermostats we understand if it’s perhaps a little difficult to contain your enthusiasm, but there really is something worth getting excited about.

Global News reported on two studies that showed that smart thermostats – like the Nest or Ecobee – tend to reduce heating costs by approximately 10-12%, and up to 15% for cooling costs.

The Efficiency Payoff

Most Edmonton homes should see somewhere around $60 – $90 per year in savings, meaning that it make take between two and four years to break even on your investment.