canadiandebtgirl

Winterize Your House to Save $$$

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2009 at 10:24 am

In our cold climate, most people winterize their homes without even thinking about it. But if you are consciously making the decision to make sure your heating costs are the most efficient, there are cost-efficient ways that can make sure this happens.

1) Thermostat Programming (FREE)
This is your easiest method to save heating costs and requires no manual labour. Program your thermostat to come on only during hours you are home. The rest of the time, set it low (you don’t want to turn it off – pipes freeze here in Canada!). We set ours to 16 when we are not around, or when we are sleeping and it comes on to 19 (Celsius of course) when we are home. The most important to remember is when you are away for the weekend or on vacation – set it down to a low temperature for the duration of your stay away.

2) Foam Insulation on your outlet covers ($5)
The next least labour intensive activity is to insulate your outlets! Drafts can come in through these holes in your drywall – if you have a place like ours, you can often feel the chill coming through on your outside walls. Buy some foam insulators from your hardware store (like this) take a screwdriver and put the insulator underneath the outlet cover. Easy peasy.

3) Drafty Windows No More ($15 for film, $3 for caulking)
If you have an older home, the windows can often be older too. Some of ours are single pane windows with wooden frames – now that’s old! There are two ways to tackle this: caulking (here) or plastic film (here). The best option is to update your windows, but lets be honest – not everyone can afford to do this in time for winter. Our solution until we have saved up our ‘new windows fund’ is to put the plastic film on them. It significantly decreases our heating bill and makes our place cozy!

4) Furnace Filters ($20 for 6)
We replace our furnace filters very frequently. This not only makes your furnace more efficient, but it keeps your air clean. We don’t invest in the expensive ones because neither of us have allergies, and we change them so frequently it makes sense to buy the ones that come in bulk at a better cost per filter. We buy these ones or whatever is on sale when we go. Once a month works well for us since we only have our furnace on from October through to April. We also make sure we have our furnace serviced once a year. It is an annual checkup and maintenance cleaning they do. It is $100 but it will catch any issues before the season starts, eliminating any need for emergency furnace repairs which are often very costly due to the urgency of the situations in our Canadian winters.

There are lots of other ways you can improve the heating efficiency in your home. Adding insulation, having new windows installed, using water heater blankets, and making draft stoppers (a great Christmas gift idea for you crafters) are all ways you can save even more energy.

The great thing about using the window film is it forces you to clean your windows inside and out before winter comes. The better to see the birdies at the birdfeeder, I say!

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