Ahh…winter. A time for frosty winter mornings, long cozy nights and larger energy bills. In Canada, well known for its lower-than-average temperatures, the cost of energy in your home has always been significant and this year is no exception, what with well below freezing temperatures and a global energy system under strain. For residents in our Lancaster Homes communities, we’ve explored 6 low-cost, low-maintenance ways to make our homes comfortable and warm and save a little money in the process.
1. Seal Your Home
Maintaining your home and conserving energy through sealing is important. Over time, all homes lose a little air through leaks in doors, frames, windows, baseboards and more, releasing warm air from inside and letting in cool air from outdoors. Air that leaks through any drafty spots wastes energy and will thus increase your utility costs. EPA in the U.S. estimates that by air sealing your home, you can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs. Over the years, re-caulking or weather-stripping your home can be an effective solution as well using energy-efficient window coverings (many will maintain temperature and still allow sunlight in). Just ensure they are somewhat perforated or breathable.
2. Let the Sunshine In
We already know how natural light is good for our health. It’s also an easy way to save energy. For windows that are south-facing, keeping your curtains and blinds open during winter allows the natural warmth of sunlight to heat the room. When the sun sets, closing your curtains has been found to save up to 10% in heat loss. A simple yet effective way to keep the rooms in your home comfortable on those dreary cold days.
3. Install a Smart Thermostat
Turning down your thermostat by even one degree, is enough to save you money on your energy bill. This is why most sources will tell you to turn down your thermostat overnight when you’re asleep or when you’re not home (sleeping in a cool room also is better for your sleep habits and health), potentially saving you up to 10% on your bill.
If you’re looking for a lower maintenance method of handling your thermostat, installing a smart or programmable thermostat is a great cost-effective and low-maintenance way of controlling the climate in your home. A smart thermostat allows you to automatically program the temperature at different times of day, ensuring the heat is on when you’re at home or cooler when you’re away or asleep. Having an automated solution saves you the hassle and worry while creating a comfortable and warm living space with no extra effort (and will save you money in the process)!
4. Use and Rotate Your Ceiling Fan
For fans of ceiling fans, this one might sound strange. Did you know you could influence the temperature of a room by simply turning your ceiling fans in the opposite direction? Using a ceiling fan in below-zero temperatures might seem illogical but having it run helps distribute and maintain heat circulating in your home. Be sure to rotate your fan so it spins in a clockwise direction at a lower speed, creating an updraft and helping warm air to circulate along the floor, walls and ceiling.
5. Check Your Furnace Filter
A very important step in conserving energy in the winter months is firstly checking your furnace filter. A clean furnace filter helps save energy by allowing your heat to emanate more efficiently. Having a blocked filter means your furnace is working twice as hard and long to release clean warm air, wasting electricity in the process. Tarion recommends checking your furnace filter every month during winter to ensure efficiency. To help locate your furnace in a Lancaster home, check the machine on the right side, look to the left of the Goodman label and find where the large duct meets the unit.
6. Make Your Home Cozy
This tip is the most fun! You can make your home warmer without turning up the thermostat by decorating. Typically, about 10% of heat can escape through floors, especially in basements. By laying down rugs, especially ones with higher thread counts, can help insulate ceramic, laminate or hardwood floors a little better. You can also hang tapestries and add cozy, textured accessories such as blankets, pillows and flannel sheets.
More from Lancaster Homes:
- 5 Steps to Revitalize Your Mental Health This Winter
- How to Optimize Your Condo Balcony
- Lancaster Homes’ Top 3 Reasons to Choose a Walk-out Basement