Winter has arrived! It may seem more difficult to keep your home comfy and cozy while keeping your utility bills in check, but some simple maintenance activities, small purchases, and a couple larger projects can make all the difference on your electrical and natural gas bills this winter. Here’s your checklist for staying energy efficient this winter:
Clean or replace your furnace filter
Space heating represents 63% of your home energy use, so it’s important to make sure your furnace is running efficiently. If it has to work harder to pull air through a dirty air filter, it will use more energy.
A good rule of thumb is to change your furnace filter every three months, but you may need to change it more often if you have pets or allergies. Check your furnace manual for details on the type of filter to use and recommendations on how often you should clean or replace your filter.
Install a smart or programmable thermostat
A smart or programmable thermostat can reduce heating and cooling costs in your home by up to 10% every year. Instead of fiddling with the heat, smart/programmable thermostats keep you warm and comfy while at home and automatically lower the heat while you’re out or asleep.
Check for air leaks around doors and windows
Drafty doors and windows are often the biggest culprits for air leaks. Fortunately, they’re also usually easy to fix. Check your existing caulking and weather stripping to see if it’s in good condition. If there are gaps, you’ll need to fix or replace it.
You may also consider replacing your old windows and doors with newer, high-performance ones.
If new doors or windows aren’t in your budget, you can install low-cost plastic insulating film over the windows instead.
For more information on checking for leaks in your home and retrofits, visit Natural Resources Canada’s page on Keeping The Heat In.
Move furniture away from heating vents
Blocking heating vents with furniture prevents warm air from circulating through the room, which means your furnace has to run longer to heat your home.
If you can’t avoid placing furniture over a vent, try an air deflector that redirects the warm air instead of heating up the furniture above it.
Swap out old light bulbs for LEDs
We use more electrically generated light in the winter because of our long, dark nights. So you’ll want to use more energy-efficient lighting to minimize the impact to your electrical bill. LEDs are one of the most popular energy efficient bulb options. You can learn more about energy efficient lighting in the blog post Bright Ideas.
In winter, insulation is like a sweater for your house. It helps to keep heat in and keep you more comfortable. Investing in insulation upgrades will increase your family’s comfort, reduce your energy expenses, and increase your home’s value.
Reverse ceiling fan direction
Remember to switch your ceiling fan to winter mode so it rotates clockwise, pushing the hot air that rises back down to the floor. Turning it on a low speed circulates the air without creating a breeze, keeping you comfy and reducing your heating needs.
Install outdoor timers for your block heater
Use a heavy-duty timer to start warming up your vehicle four hours before you leave on those cold winter mornings instead of plugging it in overnight and wasting all that unnecessary power. It will help you save money throughout the winter.
Use your blinds to help manage heat
The winter sun can still generate some heat, so open your blinds or drapes to let the sun in during the day. But make sure to close them when the sun goes down to keep the room warm. It’s an easy way to manage the heat in your home naturally.
Using this checklist will help to reduce your utility bills and make your home feel more comfortable as we head into the colder months. Add in some hot chocolate and slippers, and you’re set for another Alberta winter.